Senator Elizabeth Warren was interrupted and silenced on the Senate floor Tuesday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took issue with a speech she was giving in opposition to attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions. McConnell objected to Warren quoting a letter by Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow Coretta Scott King from 1986 when Sessions was under consideration for a federal judgeship.
McConnell invoked Rule XIX which in part says, "No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator." Sen. Steve Daines, the Republican presiding in the chair, agreed with the senate majority leader and ruled that she was in fact in violation of the rule and ordered Warren to sit down.
Warren voiced her opposition saying, "I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate." She then asked for a vote on the floor to appeal the ruling of the chair, which Republicans won 49-43 upholding the ruling that she violated Rule 19. Warren is now, according to the rules, barred from speaking at the remaining 30 hours of the debate on Sessions nomination to be attorney general.
Shortly after the incident, Warren took to Twitter making her case for what happened during the debate. "I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system," said Warren. The hashtag #LetLizSpeak quickly began trending on Twitter after Warren was barred from speaking, with multiple top Democrats like Sen. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Sen. Kamala Harris tweeting their support for the Massachusetts senator.