Fighting for Women's Equality

The Shameful, Sexist Silencing of Sen. Warren

February 8, 2017 | by

“They can shut me up, but they can’t change the truth.”

The shameful and sexist behavior of Senate leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues in silencing Elizabeth Warren last night during the debate over the nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General must not go unchallenged. Equal Rights Advocates joins our sisters and brothers across the country in denouncing such a discriminatory abuse of institutional power. 

Senator Warren’s “sin” was to attempt to read a letter written 30 years ago by Coretta Scott King in opposition to Sessions nomination to the federal judiciary which supposedly violated a seldom enforced Senate rule against impugning Senate colleagues. No male Senator in recent times has been similarly silenced — the Ted Cruz’s of the Senate have been free to say whatever they choose.  But Mitch McConnell shut Senator Warren down, saying “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted.”

In response, Senator Warren said later, “They can shut me up, but they can’t change the truth.” In the words of Senator Kamala Harris, “The suggestion that reciting the words of the great Coretta Scott King by Senator Warren is an attack on a Senator is outrageous. It is demeaning to the memory of Coretta Scott King and harmful to the process for the Republicans to silence Senator Warren.”

The language from Mrs. King that McConnell and his colleagues apparently didn’t want to hear was this: “Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten black elderly voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.”

“All of us at Equal Rights Advocates will join with Senator Warren in persisting to tell the truth about racism and discrimination wherever we find it,” said Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of ERA. “The blatant gender discrimination shown by Senator McConnell last night shames a great institution. I urge our friends and supporters to let him know in no uncertain terms that we will not stand for it.”

Tell your Senator to vote “no” on Senator Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General. 

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