Senate silences Elizabeth Warren for quoting MLK’s widow

Still, Elizabeth Warren will not be silenced.

Elizabeth Warren and Coretta Scott King

Elizabeth Warren was silenced on the Senate floor yesterday for quoting a letter from Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, in her speech against the nomination of Jeff Sessions.

Senator Warren used the letter, written in 1986 when Sessions was being considered for a federal district court judge, to strengthen her opposition to his nomination as Attorney General.

Mitch McConnell spoke out against Warren during her speech, claiming that she broke the rules of decorum by quoting the letter and “impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama.” McConnell invoked Rule 19, which is normally to encourage senators to be polite to each other, to force Warren to stop speaking.

Senator Steve Daines, who was presiding over the senate at the time of Warren’s speech, then ruled against Warren, claiming she was in violation of senate conduct.

Warren attempted to overturn the ruling, stating, “I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate.”

A vote was called, which Warren lost in a 49-43 split, effectively silencing Warren throughout the remainder of the debate over Session’s nomination. This means that Warren will no longer be able to speak out against Sessions before he is confirmed as Attorney General.

The entirety of the letter, in which King objects to Sessions’ nomination for a judicial position on the basis that he used “the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot” can be read below:

Coretta Scott King 1986 Letter on Jeff Sessions by German Lopez on Scribd


Senator Warren has announced that she will not be silenced.

McConnell has stated, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” The internet has now taken the last part and used it as a rallying cry:

Warren called into the Rachel Maddow show, stating she had been “red carded”:


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