Confirmation hearings in the Senate have been contentious ever since they started, up to and including the tie-breaker vote to put Betsy DeVos into the position of Secretary of Education. On Tuesday night, things got even more fired up as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) attempted to speak out against Trump’s Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions by reading from the letter that Coretta Scott King wrote in 1986 when Sessions was first put forth as an AG nominee.
The full video of Warren being silenced can be seen below, in which she pleads with the Senate to allow her to keep reading the words that Mrs. King wrote more than three decades ago and is promptly shut down.
The Senate ruled ot silence her with the reasoning that she was impugning the character of Jeff Sessions — even though she was only reading accurate words written ages ago by a Civil Rights leader who was fighting just as hard against Sessions’ confirmation as a federal judge in 1986 as some senators are fighting today against his confirmation as Attorney General. The Senate voted 49-to-43 (along party lines, with every Republican voting in the affirmative) that she was indeed impugning a senator’s reputation, which means she cannot speak at all now during his confirmation hearing.
Senator Mitch McConnell, who led the roll call vote against Warren, stated on the record that “The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama” and that “[Warren] was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted” which resulted in her being barred from speaking further. In what is no surprise at all, McConnell’s actions backfired and social media lit up with anger and indignation about the event.
For those curious — which should be many after this outburst on the Senate floor — the cover page of King’s letter against Session’s can be seen here with the full 10 pages of the document here. She spoke out against his racist practices, and his unfit status to ascend to the role of a federal judge. Things that still aptly apply to Sessions today.
After she was silenced, Warren tweeted a string of thoughts about what had just happened.
Most importantly she said,
“I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system.”
That thought is the most important for people to remember going forward, especially should other Democratic Senators be silenced in a similar manner if they speak out against Sessions as well. Republican Senators don’t want the public to hear about Sessions’ background in government, but somebody being brought down by others quoting their own legitimate opinions and actions is far from being “impugned.”
(via The Washington Post)