Last night, as the Senate debated the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren read from a speech Coretta Scott King sent to the Congress in 1986 when Sessions was being considered as a federal judge. Or, at least, she tried to. The Republican leadership invoked an obscure rule that says it’s impermissible to impugn the character of a sitting senator. Never mind that the entire purpose of such a hearing is to debate the merits and faults of the nominees, apparently, for Mitch McConnell and company, a 20 year old letter from the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King about why the very man in question isn’t fit to be a judge was over the line.
The crux of the issue, and the reason for invoking King’s letter, is that Sessions has exhibited a terrible record on civil and voting rights.
“I know Senator Sessions. We served together since I joined this body… and I know his record on voting rights,” Senator Al Franken said in an earlier hearing.. “He’s no champion of voting rights.”
“He called the Voting Rights Act intrusive and complained about states with [a] history of discrimination being subject to preclearance. But here you seem to be trumpeting his personal involvement in three voting rights cases and one school desegregation case.”
“Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts,” King wrote in opposition to Sessions ultimately failed nomination in 1986. “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.”
Something tells me Warren will not be silenced. In fact, McConnell may have done her a big favor in the attempt.
Shit dude I think you just wrote her next campaign slogan https://t.co/yEOqvgkmm5
— jason (@JasonKirkSBN) February 8, 2017
Read the full letter here.