On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren stood to voice her objection to the nomination of Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as the new Attorney General under the administration of President Donald J. Trump. The Senate debate over Sessions’ candidacy had just heated up, and the world was watching as the drama (by Senate standards) unfolded. As she gave her remarks, she began to read from a letter written 30 years ago by Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King III, in which Mrs. King strongly criticized Sessions’ conduct as an Alabama prosecutor in the 1980s and urged the Senate at the time to reject his candidacy for a federal judgeship for which he had been nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to Mrs. Warren’s reading of the letter by citing a little-used, arcane and elitist procedural rule (“Rule 19”, which forbids Senators to “impugn” the reputation or motives of another Senator) to order Mrs. Warren to, in effect, sit down and shut up.
In this article, we share the letter Mrs. King wrote to the United States Senate 30 years ago, as well as accounts of Sessions’ record as Alabama’s Attorney General when his office prosecuted Afrikan-American activists who were registering Black people to vote in 1985. For the article and links to other stories, click here.
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