Elizabeth Warren was barred from speaking in the Senate for attempting to read a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King, and so Democratic senators are now reading the same letter on the floor
by Nika Knight, staff writer
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Senate Republicans voted Tuesday evening to formally silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), prompting widespread public outcry, for reading a letter by Coretta Scott King from 30 years ago that condemned Sen. Jeff Sessions’s (R-Ala.) record on voting and civil rights. In response to the cascade of outrage, Democratic senators on Wednesday began taking to the Senate floor to read the letter that forced Warren from the floor.
President Donald Trump has nominated Sessions for attorney general, and a vote on Sessions is expected to take place Wednesday.
Sessions “used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens,” the letter from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow reads, referring to Sessions’s crackdown on ballot access—part of a supposed effort to combat alleged voter fraud—during his tenure as Alabama attorney general.
“The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after Warren began to read, and made the unusual decision to invoke Rule 19 to bar Warren from the floor. With votes along party lines, the motion to silence Warren was approved 49-43, and Warren was forced to stop speaking.
See Also Guardian UK: Senate Republicans silence Elizabeth Warren over letter on Jeff Sessions