Controversy in the Senate

Photo+courtesy+of+Boston+Globe.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Controversy in the Senate

Photo courtesy of Boston Globe.

Photo courtesy of Boston Globe.

Photo courtesy of Boston Globe.

Photo courtesy of Boston Globe.

Zoe Bardon, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Controversy erupts within the Senate as another one of President Trump’s nominees is voted into office. The Senate voted in favor 52-47 for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, as attorney general. According to NPR, Sen. Sessions called the American Civil Liberties Union “un-American” which led many of the Democrat Senators to speak out against Sen. Sessions. Trump’s presidential nominations have brought to our attention the Senate Majority’s suppression of Democratic Senators.

On February 7th, 2017, Sen. Warren read a letter by Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr’s widow, which addresses Sen. Session’s judicial nomination over 3 decades ago. Sen. Sessions was the U.S. attorney general for the southern district of Alabama from 1981 until 1993. As a civil rights activist, Coretta King wrote in protest of Sen. Sessions nomination to the U.S. District Court in Alabama. According to the letter from NPR, King wrote, “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.” In result, Sen. Sessions was never a federal judge.

Sen. Warren read King’s letter on the Senate floor and received resentment from the Republican representation in the Senate. During the reading, Sen. Warren was interrupted by the chair of the Senate who warned her of violating Rule 19. Rule 19 forbids senators from “impugning the motives” of other senators. Several minutes after Sen. Warren’s speech, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, called Sen. Warren out on the matter. This resulted in Sen. Warren being silenced in any further discussion of the matter.

On February 8th, 2017, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, all read from Coretta King’s letter. None of the senators were silenced. Sen. Udall argued the “selective enforcement” of Rule 19 against Sen. Warren. The democrats pointed out that in 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, called Sen. McConnell a liar, and the rule was not enacted. According to CBS News, Sen. McConnell defended himself by saying, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Sen. Warren and other senators have made their thoughts heard over social media. Sen. Warren has reread the letter during a live Facebook post. Sen. Sanders posted a video on Instagram about the selective enforcement of Sen. Warren and not himself, a male colleague. Sen. Sanders believes that Sen. McConnell owes Sen. Warren an apology. Though Sen. Warren has been silenced in the Senate, she tweeted, “I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system.”

Not just democrats have voiced their opinions on the Senate majority’s power Orrin Hatch, R-UT, voiced his thought on the Senate being too partisan. It looks like many Senators will not let the new administration suppress their voices in the next 4 years.

 

 

 

N.a. “Senate uses arcane rule to silence Warren in Sessions debate.” Cbsnews.com. n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/elizabeth-warren-silenced-jeff-sessions-debate-coretta-scott-king/

Reena Flores. “Elizabeth Warren silenced, Coretta Scott King’s letter read by Senate colleagues.” Cbsnews.com. n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/elizabeth-warren-silenced-coretta-scott-kings-letter-read-by-senate-colleagues/

Jessica Taylor. “Senate Confirms Jeff Sessions As Attorney General.” NPR.org. 8 Feb. 2017. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. http://www.npr.org/2017/02/08/514183085/senate-confirms-jeff-sessions-as-attorney-general

Bill Chappell. “Read Coretta Scott King’s Letter That Got Sen. Elizabeth Warren Silenced.” NPR.org. 8 Feb. 2017. Web. 14 Feb. 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/08/514085145/read-coretta-scott-kings-letter-that-got-sen-elizabeth-warren-silenced

Tlumacki, John. Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to the crowd on Boston Common who had gathered for the Women’s March. Digital image. Boston Globe. N.p., 21 Jan. 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.