Male Senators are permitted to read letter used to silence Elizabeth Warren


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell silenced Sen. Elizabeth Warren for trying to read a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King, in which King stated her opposition to Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination for a federal judgeship. But when Warren's male colleagues rose to read the same letter, they were not met with such condescension or sanctioning.

Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., was a civil rights activist who sacrificed everything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is a hero to millions of Americans. Yet Warren was not permitted to read King's letter opposing Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions' 1986 federal judicial nomination, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided to silence her.

Following McConnell's objection, the presiding officer, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), directed Warren: "The Senator will take her seat."

Got that? A man silences one heroic woman for trying to read a personal and powerful letter by another heroic woman — and another man tells her to take her seat.

Hours later, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), admirably rose to read the same letter. He was not silenced.

Hours after than, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), did the same:

...finally achieve political power in local government. Whites have been using the absentee process to their advantage for years without incident. And then, when Blacks, realizing its strength, began to use it with success, criminal investigations were begun. In these investigations, Mr. Sessions, as U.S. attorney, exhibited an eagerness to bring to trial and convict three leaders of the Perry County Civic League, including Albert Turner, despite evidence clearly demonstrating their innocence of any wrongdoing.

He was not silenced.

Also Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH):

Warren recently spoke at the Women's March on Washington: “We come here to stand shoulder to shoulder to make clear: We are here! We will not be silent! We will not play dead! We will fight for what we believe in!”

She will not be silenced. She will persist.

As McConnell said: "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

Melissa McEwan captures why those words have now become a rallying cry for supporters of Warren:

Persist she will. Persist we will.