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FREDERICK — The city of Frederick has cleared what could be the last obstacle to a plan to rid its City Hall courtyard of a statue of the man who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision affirming slavery.

The city's Historic Preservation Commission voted 4-1 Thursday to allow removal of the bust of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, and a nearby bust of Maryland's first governor, Thomas Johnson, who owned slaves.

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City officials say both will go to nearby Mount Olivet Cemetery, where Johnson is buried.

The city hasn't announced a timetable for removing the sculptures.

The Taney statue was erected in 1931. He practiced law in Frederick before becoming the nation's fifth chief justice. Aldermen voted a year ago to remove the Taney statue, which some find offensive.

The discussion is similar to ones happening elsewhere in the state. State lawmakers have considered the fate of a statue to Taney in Annapolis, and in Baltimore a commission has also eyed removal of the Roger B. Taney Monument at Mount Vernon Place.

—Associated Press

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