UPDATE ON EVENING ON 2/8/17: Senator Jeff Sessions has been confirmed to be our next US Attorney General.
Last night, 2/7/17, Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by the Republican Majority Speaker, Senator Mitch McConnell for daring to read from a letter penned by the late Coretta Scott King. It was said that Senator Warren was impugning the reputation of Senator Jeff Sessions and because of this assertion, and with the use of Senate “rule 19,” she has been relegated to her corner throughout the confirmation hearings of Senator Jeff Sessions as he moves toward becoming the next US attorney general.
But she would not go quietly into that good night. She stepped outside the Senate’s hearing room, to start reading Coretta Scott King’s letter for the benefit of social media and later, she was a guest on the MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show to tell her shocking story.
It turns out that in 1986, Coretta Scott King wrote a letter to register her wish that Jeff Sessions not be confirmed for a federal judgeship position. The former Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Strom Thurmond never submitted the letter into the Congressional record. BuzzFeed was able to locate this letter.
On 1/10/17, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post has written about the story regarding this letter, “Read the letter Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Sessions’s 1986 federal nomination.” (See link below for access to the letter.)
“The widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. urged Congress to block the 1986 nomination of Jeff Sessions for federal judge, saying that allowing him to join the federal bench would “irreparably damage the work of my husband,” according to the letter written by King that was previously publicly unavailable and obtained on Tuesday by The Post.”
“Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts,” King wrote in the cover page of her 9-page letter opposing Sessions’s nomination, which failed at the time.
“Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.”
“Thirty years later, (Jeff) Sessions, now himself a senator, is again undergoing confirmation hearings as President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, and is facing fierce opposition from civil rights groups.”
“In the letter, King writes that Sessions’s ascension to the federal bench “simply cannot be allowed to happen,” arguing that as a U.S. attorney, the Alabama lawmaker pursued “politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions” and that he “lacks the temperament, fairness and judgment to be a federal judge.” She said Sessions’s conduct in prosecuting civil rights leaders in a voting fraud case “raises serious questions about his commitment to the protection of the voting rights of all American citizens.”
“The irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods,” she wrote, later adding: “I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made toward fulfilling my husband’s dream.”
”During the 1986 hearing, the letter and King’s opposition became a crucial part of the argument against (Jeff) Sessions’s confirmation. Current Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has not previously released the letter, which committee rules grant him the sole authority to reveal.”
Link to letter:
Coretta Scott King’s 1986 statement and testimony on Jeff Sessions’s …https://www.documentcloud.org/…/3259988-Scott–King–1986–Letter-and-Testimony-…Coretta Scott King’s 1986 statement and testimony on Jeff Sessions’s U.S. District Court nomination in Alabama. Contents. (PDF) ».