The Massachusetts Senator was silenced for reading a letter arguing against Jeff Sessions

By Christian Holub
February 09, 2017 at 11:53 AM EST
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On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm one of its own, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), as the country’s new Attorney General. But before that final result, Sessions’ hearing caused some waves. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tried to read a letter Coretta Scott King had written in 1986 against Sessions receiving a federal judgeship, she was silenced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell using an archaic Senate rule. McConnell’s justification (“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted”) was immediately made into t-shirts and memes, but when Warren went on The Daily Show Wednesday night to discuss the incident, she was clear that the focus should be on the substance of King’s letter.

“The main thing is millions of people are now reading Coretta Scott King’s letter. It is an amazing letter,” Warren said. “It is a letter full of passion, full of heart, and full of advice to us. It talks about a moment in history when African-Americans were beaten away from the polls, and it talks about Jeff Sessions’ role in that. I think it has an important lesson today for all of America. I hope everybody reads her letter.”

In her letter, King used her experience as a civil rights leader alongside her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., to voice strong opposition to Sessions. “Mr. Sessions’ conduct as U.S. Attorney, from his politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws, indicates that he lacks the temperament, fairness, and judgment to be a federal judge,” she wrote.

King’s 10-page letter (submitted because a “long-standing commitment” prevented her from testifying against Sessions in person) was enough to convince the Senate Judiciary Committee not to give Sessions the judgeship. Now, however, Sessions is the most powerful law enforcement official in the country, and his ideological stamp is reportedly all over the Trump White House.

Watch the clip above.

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