Most of the victories currently available to Congressional Democrats are moral. Just as they spoke out against the nomination of Betsy DeVos, Senate Democrats will attempt to hold the floor before the vote to confirm Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is held tomorrow.
Elizabeth Warren, who occupies a windswept patch of real estate in Donald Trump's brain, was reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King in opposition to Sessions' nomination for a Federal judgeship. That was in 1986, and he was voted down at least in part due to allegations of racism. Sessions will note that he headed a prosecution widely credited with crippling the Ku Klux Klan, but unbiased accounts have him playing a supervisory role. Since he's been in the Senate, his track record on women's rights has been less than sterling.
Some might say that he is being selected only because he displayed a talent for disenfranchising elderly Black voters during his time in Alabama. Voter suppression has long been a key staple of the Republican hold on power, Trump's falsehoods notwithstanding. Others might say different things.
While Warren was reading that letter by King, discovered only recently after Strom Thurmond (big time racist) blocked it from entering the Senate record, Mitch McConnell invoked a point of order to block her. Since Republicans plan to allow the Democrats to speak before Sessions is inevitably confirmed, this is a fairly important symbolic gesture against Martin Luther King, Jr.'s widow.
McConnell invoked Rule 19 to stop Warren from speaking. That's a rule preventing Senators from using the floor to impugn their colleagues. Though the rule is slightly esoteric, McConnell argued that Warren had attributed impure motives to Sessions. That's a no-no because Sessions is a sitting Senator while he awaits conformation.
“The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “I call the senator to order under the provisions of Rule 19.”
McConnell's rebuke of Warren was upheld 49-43 in a vote that fell along party lines. By rule, she won't be allowed to speak from the floor until after the debate on Sessions has ended. That will likely be Wednesday early afternoon.
After she was told to stop speaking, Warren tweeted her displeasure with how things had gone.
Almost immediately, #LetLizSpeak was flooded with tweets in support of Senator Warren. Prominent Democratic Senators were the first to speak out.
Senator Chris Murphy took things the furthest.
Sessions will likely be confirmed tomorrow.