A year after Republicans silenced her objections to Jeff Sessions’ Attorney General nomination, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took the floor on Wednesday to list a number of ways in which the former Alabama senator has failed to apply fairness and justice to the Department of Justice since taking its helm.
“On Jeff Sessions’ watch, the Justice Department has promoted voter suppression,” Warren said. “On his watch, the Justice Department has endorsed discrimination. On his watch, the Justice Department has reversed efforts to reform our broken criminal justice system. And, on his watch, the Justice Department has led an all-out bigotry-fueled attack on immigrants and refugees.”
Last year, Republicans censured Warren’s reading of Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter about Sessions on the grounds that she had “impugned the motives and conduct” of her colleague.
King objected to Session’s federal judge nomination in her letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying he had “used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”
Ordering Warren to sit down last February, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) infamously remarked that she had been “warned” to end her speech and said, “Nevertheless, she persisted”—a phrase that became a rallying cry for women in the Trump resistance.
Speaking on Wednesday, Warren reminded her colleagues of King’s letter, calling Sessions “a man deemed too racist to hold a federal court judgeship in 1986.”
The senator also reminded Republicans of the energized resistance against the Trump agenda ahead of the 2018 midterm elections—and as the GOP lost its 35th legislative seat since throwing its support behind Trump in the 2016 election.
“The American people are showing up in the streets, in the airports, in the courtrooms, and even at the polls to hold this government accountable,” she said. “Republicans tried to silence Coretta Scott King for speaking the truth about Jeff Sessions. They tried to silence me for reading Mrs. King’s words on the Senate floor. They tired to silence all of us from speaking out, but instead of shutting us up, they have made us louder. Warn us, give us explanations. Nevertheless, we will persist, and we will win.”