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

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-N.M.) early Wednesday read Coretta Scott King’s letter opposing Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump's no racist; he's an equal opportunity offender Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question MORE (R-Ala.) on the Senate floor hours after Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocratic Houston councilwoman announces Senate bid Biden's health care gaffe shows he's not ready for prime time The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout 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 MerkleyDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Senate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border MORE (D-Ore.) and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei 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.