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Senate Republicans Silence Widow of Dr. MLK

Senate Republicans Silence Widow of Dr. MLK

Tuesday afternoon Senate Majority "Leader" Mitch McConnell blocked Senator Elizabeth Warren's testimony from the floor of the Senate. McConnell then invoked "Rule 19" to silence Warren. Claiming, "the Senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama" [by reading Coretta Scott King's letter].

According to Rule 19, “No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” Senator Warren reacted to the allegation of violating Rule 19 saying, "I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate." This strong arm technique used by McConnell to silence political opposition sets a dangerous precedent.

With this parliamentary device being allowed, there seems no legislative force capable of thwarting political opponents from employing such maneuvers to silence each other. That is a scary proposition for a government built on the ideals of a republic being representative. If Senators are disallowed from representing their constituencies and voicing their concerns, without fear of censor, then tyrannical majorities will dictate the time, manner, and content of all information dissemination. 

Out of respect for the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we encourage you to read Coretta Scott King's letter in full (original text provided below). King's letter was highly influential when Sessions was nominated for the federal judgeship, and factored into his failed confirmation. McConnell never explained why King's letter is all of a sudden classified as inappropriate. This is especially important considering the same letter was attributed with derailing Sessions first run in the 80s. 

Read the full letter below:

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