95% of Capitol Sculptures Depict Men. Will That Change Soon?Breaking News
tags: memorials, statues, public history, US Capitol
Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar sees one pretty obvious problem in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.
"You don't have to have a Ph.D. to walk around here and think, 'Huh, they're all men,' " Klobuchar says. "And that's just wrong."
In all, the Capitol has 266 sculptures — including statues, busts and monuments — honoring notable figures in history. Of those, only 14 are of women.
Now, Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are joining forces to change that, starting with introducing new legislation Thursday to add statues of the first two women to sit on the Supreme Court.
Klobuchar, the chair of the Senate Rules Committee, was approached this year by the family of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a meeting that sparked a plan to honor both the "notorious RBG" and the first woman justice on the people's court, Sandra Day O'Connor.
"When you get visited by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's daughter and granddaughter, and it's your first in-person meeting, during the pandemic, you kind of don't forget it," Klobuchar said.
Soon after, Klobuchar pitched the idea to her Senate colleagues on the upper chamber's floor at 3 a.m. after a long "vote-a-rama" session. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was by her side, jokingly spreading the word the plan was his idea.
"Because men never claim that it's their idea over a woman," Klobuchar said with a laugh. "So we walked through the chamber, and got a bunch of people on board."
Now, 20 senators, including more than a dozen Democrats and three Republicans, are on board. GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia have signed on so far.