Sen. Elizabeth Warren silenced on Senate floor by Republicans

Sen. Elizabeth Warren silenced on Senate floor by Republicans

Democrats rallied around Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday after the Massachusetts senator was silenced for reading from a 30-year-old letter written by the widow of Martin Luther King criticizing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions’ civil rights record.

Senate Republicans voted to rebuke Warren using Senate statute: Rule 19, after she read from a letter that Coretta Scott King wrote that criticized the civil rights record of Sessions, Trump’s nominee for attorney general and an Alabama Republican, during the lawmaker’s attempted confirmation for a federal judgeship 30 years ago. The 1986 letter said that Sen. Sessions, who was then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, had used the “the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.”

Still, Sessions is expected to be confirmed Wednesday evening when the Republican-led Senate takes a final vote on his nomination. Democrats this week have spoken out forcefully against Trump’s nominees, even though they lack the votes to derail even the most contentious picks. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos needed Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote in her favor on Tuesday, marking the first ever time a vice president’s ballot was needed to confirm a cabinet nominee.

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