Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced in the Senate when she attempted to read a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King condemning Jeff Sessions, the now Attorney General nominee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republican senators shut her protest down, but you can still read Coretta’s passionate letter here. Persist!
In a bid to protest the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Elizabeth Warren attempted to read a letter penned by Coretta Scott King in 1986 urging then-Judiciary Committee Chair Strom Thurmond not to give him a federal judgeship because he was racist. During a debate over Sessions on February 7, Warren pulled out the 31-year-old letter, which detailed how Sessions allegedly “used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”
It’s a damning letter that serves as a reminder that Sessions was once found unfit to become a federal judge because of these issues, and now he may become the Attorney General of the United States. Rather than allow Warren to finish reading the letter, Republican senators and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped her, saying she violated Senate rules; senators “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.”
It was shocking, to say the least, that Warren would be barred from reading the words of one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time, and the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., on the Senate floor during a debate about the fitness of a potential presidential cabinet member. While the senators didn’t get the honor of hearing Coretta’s full letter, you can read it below:
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 letter be made a part of the hearing record.
I do sincerely urge you to oppose the confirmation of Mr. Sessions.
Coretta Scott King
The Republican senators were somehow offended by Warren reading this letter during the hearing, and not by the contents of the letter. They voted to essentially silence Warren for the rest of the hearing; she is unable to speak out again on the Senate floor until the voting period is over, likely on February 8. “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech,” McConnell said. “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Yeah she did!
HollywoodLifers, what do you think about McConnell barring Warren from reading this letter? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.