Udall reads Coretta Scott King letter on Senate floor after Warren is silenced

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallIT modernization measure included in Senate-approved defense policy bill Live coverage: Sanders rolls out single-payer bill Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill MORE (D-N.M.) early Wednesday read Coretta Scott King’s letter opposing Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE (R-Ala.) on the Senate floor hours after Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Trump bets base will stick with him on immigration Dems call for action against Cassidy-Graham ObamaCare repeal MORE (D-Mass.) was silenced for trying to read the same letter.

A few minutes into his formal remarks on the floor, Udall asked to enter the letter into the Senate record, which had no objections.

"I would like to read into the record today the letter from Mrs. King which supports her opinion of Mr. Sessions's lack of commitment to justice for all and leave it to my colleagues here today to assess in considering his nomination," he said.  

"To me, that letter that she wrote back in March 19, 1986 goes right to the heart of what we are debating here on the Senate floor. What we are debating is our voting rights and whether we will have for the next four years or eight years an attorney general who is going to enforce the laws, particularly with regards to voting rights. So here’s her letter."

During a debate against the nomination of Sessions as attorney general on Tuesday evening, Warren quoted from the 1986 letter from the civil rights activist and widow of Martin Luther King Jr., citing her concerns about Sessions during his then-nomination for a federal judgeship.

She wrote that Sessions “had used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens" as a U.S. attorney in Alabama.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren and said that she had violated Senate rules by impugning her colleague, Sessions.

Senate Republicans voted to rebuke Warren, and she was barred from speaking on the Senate floor for the remainder of the debate on Sessions.

On Wednesday, Udall defended Warren on Twitter after reading Coretta Scott King's letter on the floor, and said that “her words should not be silenced.”

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill MORE (D-Ore.) and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell Brown'Hillbilly Elegy' author won't run for Senate Brown, Portman urge Trump administration to move quickly on a steel decision Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (D-Ohio)  also read portions of the the letter from the floor on Tuesday night, soon after Warren was rebuked, without interruptions. 

Warren herself finished the letter from outside the Senate, reading it out loud in a Facebook live video.

The Massachusetts senator thanked her colleagues for reading the letter on the Senate floor.