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

Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallOvernight Defense: Milley reportedly warned Trump against Iran strikes | Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer killed in Afghanistan | 70 percent of active-duty military at least partially vaccinated Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-N.M.) early Wednesday read Coretta Scott King’s letter opposing Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE (R-Ala.) on the Senate floor hours after Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action 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 McConnellMcConnell: 'It never occurred to me' convincing Americans to get vaccinated would be difficult The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal 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 MerkleyJeff MerkleyHuman rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Bipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games MORE (D-Ore.) and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSchumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Democrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines 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.