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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Black caucus women back Elizabeth Warren, read letter that earned her Senate rebuke

Feb 8, 2017
News Articles

WASHINGTON — The women of the Congressional Black Caucus had Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s back Wednesday night.

Before the Senate confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions as President Donald Trump’s attorney general on a 52-47 vote, 13 black caucus Democrats took to video and read a letter by the late Martin Luther King’s widow critical of the Alabama Republican - the same letter that got Warren, D-Mass., barred from speaking on the Senate floor after she read from it Tuesday night.

The 1986 letter, written by the late Coretta Scott King, opposed Session’s nomination for a federal judgeship back then.

 Bonnie WatsonColeman ✔ @RepBonnie
@SenateMajLdr, even with a warning and an explanation, we will persist. #ShePersisted #LetLizSpeak
6:30 PM - 8 Feb 2017
  53 53 Retweets   89 89 likes

"Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge," Warren said, quoting the letter.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. issued a rare rebuke to Warren on Tuesday night for violating the chamber’s rules against impugning another senator’s motives and barred her from speaking during the rest of debate on Sessions’ nomination. The Republican-controlled Senate backed up McConnell’s action in a party-line vote.

Wednesday night’s final vote on Sessions’ confirmation lacked drama. Most House Democrats, including Black Caucus members, were in Baltimore for a retreat.

The 13 women who read the letter in the video were Reps. Barbara Lee and Karen Bass of California; Sheila Jackson Lee and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas; Joyce Beatty and Marcia Fudge of Ohio; Brenda Lawrence of Michigan; Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware; Yvette Clarke of New York; Gwen Moore of Wisconsin; Alma Adams of North Carolina; Robin Kelly of Illinois; and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey.

This article first appeared on The News Tribune's website on February 8, 2017.