Senate

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

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) early Wednesday read Coretta Scott King’s letter opposing Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on the Senate floor hours after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (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.

{mosads}Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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 Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (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.

Tags Elizabeth Warren Jeff Merkley Jeff Sessions Mitch McConnell Sherrod Brown Tom Udall
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