Senate Republicans found a way to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren tonight, utilizing arcane Senate rule XIX, during debate on Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination for attorney general.
The rule reads, in part, “no Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute another Senator or other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
More from the Star-Telegram:
Warren, D-Mass., was found to be in violation of the rule after reading from a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. King submitted the letter to the Senate in opposition to Sessions nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986. He was not confirmed for the position.
Warren also quoted critical comments from former Sen. Ted Kennedy.
She was warned by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, who was the the presiding officer Tuesday night, after reading comments from Kennedy that called Sessions “a disgrace.”
About 20 minutes later, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, stopped Warren saying she had “impugned the motives and conduct of” Sessions.
Here is the part of the letter from King that McConnell objected to: “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.”
Warren replied: “I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate.”
Warren is now barred from speaking in the Senate for the remainder of the confirmation debate on Sen. Sessions for Attorney General.
Here's the 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King that Warren was reading from:
Here's the moment Warren was told to sit down and shut up:
I spoke out about @SenatorSessions – until @SenateMajLdr McConnell decided to silence me. https://t.co/qbty7x0iLl— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 8, 2017
Mitch McConnell and 45 other Republican white men just shushed a woman...for reading the words of a black woman about standing up to racism.— Bill Harnsberger (@BillinPortland) February 8, 2017
Cannot be more clear: every single Republican Senator present just voted that Coretta Scott King's own words can't read on the Senate floor.— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) February 8, 2017