In an astonishing moment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last night stopped Elizabeth Warren from reading aloud a letter from the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. about Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.
Why? The letter called out Sessions’s racism and his attempts to disenfranchise black voters.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
Dear Senator Thurmond:
I write to express my sincere opposition to the confirmation of Jefferson B. Sessions as a federal district court judge for the Southern District of Alabama. My professional and personal roots in Alabama are deep and lasting. Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.
I regret that a long-standing commitment prevents me from appearing in person to testify against this nominee. However, I have attached a copy of my statement opposing Mr. Sessions’ confirmation and I request that my statement as well as this be made a part of the hearing record.
I do sincerely urge you to oppose the confirmation of Mr. Sessions.
Coretta Scott King
McConnell and other Republicans said Warren violated Senate rules. The rule, No. 19, says senators cannot “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
The Senate voted along partisan lines, 49-43, to admonish Warren, effectively barring her from speaking during the remaining debate on Sessions.
“The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair,” McConnell said on the floor.
Warren lashed out on Twitter:
Tonight @SenateMajLdr silenced Mrs King's voice on the Sen floor – & millions who are afraid & appalled by what's happening in our country.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017