Elizabeth Warren stopped on the floor of the Senate for attempting to read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King about the civil rights record of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions

Last night, on the floor of the United States Senate, Elizabeth Warren, in discussing the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, attempted to read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King to the U.S. Judiciary Committee about the Senator’s history relative to civil rights. [Sessions, at the time, was in the running to become a federal judge.] As you can see in this video, Warren was immediately shut down by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who accused her of impugning the reputation of a fellow Senator.

Had Warren been allowed to continue, you would have heard her share the opinion of Mrs. King that, if Sessions were allowed to ascend to a position of responsibility in the judiciary, it would “irreparably damage” the legacy of her late husband, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is the cover letter that accompanied Coretta Scott King’s sworn statement from 1986, which goes into detail concerning the efforts Sessions had taken as a prosecutor in Alabama to go after civil rights leaders for voter fraud. [If you follow that last link, you can read King’s entire nine-page statement, which, until recently, had been kept from the public.]

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 6.57.20 AM

Warren, after being rebuked by Senate leadership, then went outside the Senate chamber to complete her reading of the King statement.

Now please share the King letter with everyone you know, and call your Senators. The Sessions’ confirmation vote is scheduled to take place later today. And, if you haven’t already, check out the exchange between Sessions and Senator Al Franken concerning the nominee’s overstatement of his role in fighting for civil rights.

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  1. Demetrius
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Senator Warren is a smart cookie, so I suspect she’s well aware that being shut down this way by McConnell will generate FAR more public attention regarding the text of King’s letter than if she had simply been “allowed” to read it into the record.

    Thanks Mark, for helping spread the word.

    Now, everyone else needs to do the same.

  2. Posted February 8, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Absolutely, Demetrius. She definitely knew, before she started reading, that the letter wouldn’t be allowed. It was a smart move on her part. Now everyone is reading the letter.

  3. Citywatch
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Shared this on my timeline. So should we all.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Jeff Merkley stepped in later to read the letter in full without interruption by McConnell. Any guesses as to why he was not stopped? Asking for a friend.


  5. Demetrius
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I’m guessing even Mitch McConnell was able to eventually figure out that continuing to deny Democratic Senators the opportunity to read the letter would generate more attention than they hoped to avoid …


  6. Kat
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Maybe the Republicans were all asleep by the time Merkley took the floor. Or maybe, seeing how much press Warren got, they decided not to fight it. Or maybe they’re sexist.

  7. Demetrius
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    NYT: Republican Senators Vote to Formally Silence Elizabeth Warren



  8. M
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The “nevertheless, she persisted” tag is taking off.

    Here’s the genesis:

    McConnell defended his actions, and said: “Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”


  9. site admin
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Tom Udall read the letter as well.


  10. Bob
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Senator Warren is pretty left for you Jean. Lizzy sis’s, I guess.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know the line between left and right was a straight line. That must mean it only encompasses one issue, which seems about right for your politics Bob.

    I’m to the left of Warren on some issues and to the right on a few, but mostly my positions seem to be clustered closely to hers. See, positions… plural.

    And like her, I never came out in support of Bernie.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    CNN: Warren is now barred from speaking on the floor for the remainder of the debate on Sessions’ nomination, McConnell’s office said. The debate is expected to wrap up about 7 p.m. ET Wednesday when a final confirmation vote is planned.

  13. Demetrius
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I suppose next they will just go all the way and ban all Democrats from speaking on the floor.

  14. jean henry
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    For Bob:

  15. Meta
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    New York Times: “Shutting Down Speech by Elizabeth Warren, G.O.P. Amplifies Her Message”

    Republicans seized her microphone. And gave her a megaphone.

    Silenced on the Senate floor for condemning a peer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, emerged on Wednesday in a coveted role: the avatar of liberal resistance in the age of President Trump.

    Late on Tuesday, Senate Republicans voted to halt the remarks of Ms. Warren, already a lodestar of the left, after she criticized a colleague, Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general, by reading a letter from Coretta Scott King.

    Instantly, the decision — led by Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, who invoked a rarely enforced rule prohibiting senators from impugning the motives and conduct of a peer — amplified Ms. Warren’s message and further inflamed the angry Senate debate over Mr. Sessions’ nomination. He was confirmed on Wednesday.

    For Ms. Warren’s supporters, it was the latest and most visceral example of a woman muzzled by men who seemed unwilling to listen.

    Critics saw something else: a senator who has rankled members of both parties with her nose for the spotlight lobbing a far-too-early salvo in the next presidential race.

    “A lot of that’s about 2020 politics,” Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, grumbled on MSNBC.

    Mr. McConnell’s subsequent explanation for his maneuver seemed destined for a future Warren campaign ad: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” After an unsuccessful effort to draft her for the 2016 presidential race, Ms. Warren is considered a very early front-runner for 2020, should she run.

    Mr. McConnell’s coda has already been repurposed as a sort of rallying cry. Across social media, Ms. Warren’s allies and supporters posted with the hashtag #shepersisted, calling to mind some Democrats’ embrace of the term “nasty woman” after Mr. Trump deployed it to describe Hillary Clinton during a debate. Appearing with Mrs. Clinton in New Hampshire in October, Ms. Warren reminded Mr. Trump that “nasty women vote.”

    After the vote to bar Ms. Warren from speaking further about Mr. Sessions, other senators, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Tom Udall of New Mexico, read Mrs. King’s letter without facing any objection, prompting some activists to raise charges of sexism.

    Ms. Warren has long displayed an instinct for capitalizing on highly visible fights. After she was barred from speaking on the Senate floor, she began reading the 1986 letter from Mrs. King on Facebook. By Wednesday evening, the video had attracted more than nine million views.

    Read more:

  16. Lindsey Graham
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “It was long overdue with her.”

    Source: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/graham-warren-rebuke-long-overdue

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) does not have a problem with Senate Republicans move to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for calling attention to Jeff Sessions’ civil rights record on the Senate floor.

    “The bottom line is, it was long overdue with her,” Graham said the Mike Gallagher Show on Wednesday, according to a clip highlighted by CNN. “I mean, she is clearly running for the nomination in 2020.”

  17. jean henry
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    She has great political instincts (which is my primary resistance to her). She makes the GOP upset. This is only the beginning of the attacks on her. But to her great advantage, women are now fully enlivened to sexist modes of attack, and they are not standing for it anymore. (And yeah they did for a long time. We are all co ditioned to accept a double standard for women) Eventually, maybe, the GOP will learn not to go into territory, like suppression/harassment of a woman with a strong voice, that reverberates with woman a to familiar with that scenario. I certainly hope the left learns that lesson once and for all.

    And no I’m not saying this was a purely sexist act. But sexism was a piece of it. Sexism may have informed the GOP’s frustration with Warren and McConnell’s action, consciously or not, and it certainly informed his belief that he could get away with it. Gender bias is one lens that can be applied to such scenarios. It’s not the only one. Feminism is not absolutist. It’s not even ideologogical she’s nice the lens refracts through ones personal experience and produces different outcomes. This is mine. And apparently it’s shared by many other women. Women who now march… with men and children at their side.
    I’m going to keep repeating that in each instance of gender bias here until you guys get it.

  18. jean henry
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Shit–autocorrect keeps f’ng up my phone posts. Sorry. You guys can figure it out…

  19. Demetrius
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    OMG, the hypocrisy!!

    In 2016, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz – and Lindsey Graham himself – were all declared republican presidential contenders who were ALSO actively serving as U.S. Senators. I suppose they should have been “silenced,” as well.

    Nevertheless, they persisted …

  20. charlieRomeo
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Warren was definitely told to shutup and sitdown by the Republican fascists. Maybe it was just karma:


  21. charlieRomeo
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    I forgot mto add this illustrative nugget;

    Political affiliation
    Warren voted as a Republican for many years, saying, “I was a Republican because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets”.[22] According to Warren, she began to vote Democratic in 1995 because she no longer believed that to be true, but she states that she has voted for both parties because she believed that neither party should dominate.

  22. Morbid Larson
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    I am surprised that EOS hasn’t yet made some comment about how Democrats should just “give up” because Republicans control the admin and both houses.

  23. EOS
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Ode to the Morbid

    2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
    “Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”
    3 What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
    4 Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
    5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
    6 The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
    round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
    7 All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
    To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
    8 All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
    The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
    9 What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
    10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
    It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
    11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
    will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    That’s a good one EOS. Truly. One of my favorites. I’d counter (or really, amend):


    When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
    The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
    The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
    What never added up will add Up,
    What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
    – And if there is no lining to the world?
    If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
    But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
    Make no sense following each other?
    And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
    – Even if that is so, there will remain
    A word wakened by lips that perish,
    A tireless messenger who runs and runs
    Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
    And calls out, protests, screams.
    —Czeslaw Milosz

  25. M
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    It gets worse.

    President Donald Trump taunted Democrats by telling them “Pocahontas is now the face of your party” — his insult of choice for Sen. Elizabeth Warren — during a meeting with senators earlier this week, sources told CNN.

    CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/10/politics/donald-trump-elizabeth-warren-voter-fraud/index.html

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