Republicans voted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday night, during a Senate floor debate over Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination as President Donald Trump’s attorney general.
Warren, who is among Democratic senators opposing Sessions’ appointment, attempted to read from a 1986 letter written by Coretta Scott King, the wife of civil-rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped Warren, alleging her recitation of the letter violated Senate rule 19, which forbids conduct “unbecoming” of a senator.
The letter Warren read was written by Coretta Scott King in opposition to Sessions, who in 1986 was nominated as a federal judge in Alabama. At the time, King wrote that Sessions was unfit for the position, alleging he sought “politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions” and describing Sessions as lacking the “temperament, judgment, and fairness” to be a federal judge.
After McConnell called for Warren to stop reading from the letter, Warren challenged the motion.
“I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate,” Warren said. She asked to be given space to continue her remarks, but was ultimately voted down.
Watch the exchange below:
The proceedings follow what has been a contentious confirmation process for a number of Trump’s Cabinet nominees. His newly confirmed education secretary, Betsy DeVos, was the subject of a similar all-night Senate session Monday, during which Democratic lawmakers held the floor to oppose her confirmation.
The move was unsuccessful. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tiebreaking vote Tuesday, officially confirming DeVos. She was sworn in later Tuesday.
Lawmakers have expressed concern about Sessions’ vocal support of Trump, prompting questions about whether he would remain neutral if he were confirmed as attorney general.
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