The Coretta Scott King letter on Jeff Sessions, brought to the attention of the public most recently by MSNBC, was read by Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren while she had the floor during a Senate hearing on Tuesday night, but Warren was silenced in the midst of her recitation, as beforehand she had made the mistake of quoting former Senator Ted Kennedy, also of Massachusetts. Apparently, Kennedy had once spoken ill of Senator Sessions of Alabama, saying he was “a disgrace to the Justice Department,” Fox News Insider reports, and Warren thought it warranted repeating.
To be clear, Senator Warren was not silenced for reading Coretta’s letter. The Senate voted on her violation of a Senate rule, as can be seen in the following video.
As per Rule XIX of the United States Senate, it’s forbidden for a senator who is speaking on the floor to cite “another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.”
Basically, Warren went too far by using Ted Kennedy’s words against Jeff Sessions, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took advantage of her mistake, which led to a floor vote, 49 to 43 against Warren, who now won’t have a chance to further an argument against Sessions until the Senate either confirms or denies him the position of Attorney General.
The Sessions vote is scheduled to take place Wednesday, and Senate Democrats staged the second all-nighter in a row, as from Monday night into Tuesday morning they debated on the floor against President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who, despite the Democrats’ best efforts, was confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.
Speculation of the Sessions vote is that the Republican senator will also be confirmed instead of denial, which is of course what Warren and her political kin are fighting to prevent from happening.
Who Is Coretta Scott King?
Coretta Scott King is best known for being the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., but she was also a singer, writer and like her husband, an activist for civil rights in America. Martin’s death had a profound effect on Coretta’s passion for civil rights, as she took the spot he had unwillingly vacated following his assassination.
Not even a week after losing her beloved, Mrs. King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, which was the city where Martin was killed, and took part in the civil rights march he was supposed to have been heading. Once the march was over, she got the attention of the marchers and spoke.
“Those of you who believe in what Martin Luther King, Jr., stood for, I would challenge you today to see that his spirit never dies…. From this moment on we are going to go forward. We are going to continue his work to make all people truly free and to make every person feel that he is a human being.”
Coretta’s Letter On Sessions
A native Alabaman, Coretta penned a letter to South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond in 1986 vis-à-vis Jeff Sessions being nominated for a position as federal district court judge in Alabama. According to Mrs. King, at the time Sessions was guilty of abusing his power in order “to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens,” and “to frighten elderly black voters.”
Coretta also accused Sessions of having contempt for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which the purpose of was to eliminate impediments that stood in the way of African Americans having the right to vote. Furthermore, Mrs. King claimed that Sessions gave his all to try and get black people in trouble with the law, while at the same time did his best to protect white people from being held accountable for their crimes.
All in all, it’s evident that Coretta believed that Jeff Sessions, as Attorney General of Alabama, would have been a step backward for civil rights and that he would have endangered all the progress she and her late husband had made for Blacks in America.
Coretta Scott King’s Jeff Sessions letter did serve its purpose according to the Washington Post, as he did not become Alabama’s Attorney General and King’s letter was a determining factor in the final Senate vote.
[Featured Image by Anonymous/AP Images]