Senate Votes to Silence Elizabeth Warren
She read letter from MLK's widow
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2017 1:50 AM CST
Updated Feb 8, 2017 5:26 AM CST

(Newser) – Sen. Elizabeth Warren read a letter from Martin Luther King's widow outside the Senate chamber Tuesday night—after she was banned from speaking inside. In what the Washington Post calls an "extraordinarily rare move," the GOP-controlled Senate voted to silence Warren for impugning the character of attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions by reading passages of letters from Coretta Scott King and Ted Kennedy. "Mr. Sessions has used 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," King wrote in a 1986 letter opposing Sessions' nomination to a federal judgeship. "This simply cannot be allowed to happen." (Read the letter in full here.)

Mitch McConnell accused Warren of breaking Senate rules, saying she had "impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama," Politico reports. The AP frames it as an arcane rule, and notes "senators have said far worse": McConnell was himself called a liar by Sen. Ted Cruz in 2015, but let it slide. After a 49-43 vote along party lines, Warren was banned from speaking on the Senate floor until after the vote on Sessions, which is expected Wednesday night. Warren read the letter again outside the chamber in a Facebook video that has been viewed more than 3 million times. "I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system," she tweeted, adding: "I will not be silent while the Republicans rubber stamp an AG who will never stand up to the @POTUS when he breaks the law."

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