Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Representing one of the more tangled dramas of an American presidential corpse, the 11th President of the United States, James K. Polk, now faces the prospect of being disinterred and buried at a fourth place since his death in 1849. A proposal is making its way through the Tennessee legislature, which calls for digging up the bodies of the late President and his wife and moving them to a final resting place at a Polk family home in Columbia, Tennessee. Supporters of the move say that it will properly honor Polk, a president they say was unjustly overlooked. Opponents of the move exclaim that it would be disrespectful, as Polk’s body has rested on Capitol grounds for 124 years. The state Senate voted on the resolution this past Monday, but in order to disinter the remains, there will need to be approval from the state’s House, governor, the Tennessee Historical Commission, and a local judge.
See Richard Fausset, President James K. Polk’s Body May Be Moved. Again., N.Y. Times, March 24, 2017.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.