Elizabeth Warren got shut down by a Senate rule from 1903.
Sen. Warren, please shut up.
In case you missed it, after she read negative quotes from Sen. Ted Kennedy and Coretta Scott King about Jeff Sessions, Republicans in the Senate voted along party lines to officially block Elizabeth Warren from commenting at all during the rest of Sessions' hearings (see video here).
The maneuver they pulled, invoking Senate Rule XIX—a rule from 1903, which, among other things, bars senators from "imputing" other senators—would seem to not apply here. The Senate was not discussing Sessions' merits as a senator but rather as a nominee for attorney general, as Sen. Chris Murphy pointed out. Still, when Republicans control the Senate, there seems to be not much that can be done in opposition.
That's the key point. Rules against criticizing other Senators cannot apply when you are DEBATING THE NOMINATION OF A SENATOR! https://t.co/mLQqP7z14d— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 8, 2017
Mitch McConnell's invocation of Rule XIX after the Heritage Foundation advocated for just that seems…suspicious.
The Heritage Foundation, that cesspool of conservative ideas that is still hanging on, published a primer last month explaining how the Senate majority—Republicans—can silence any dissent from the minority—Democrats—by "strictly enforcing" Rule XIX.
Given the Foundation's close working with the Trump campaign, transition team, and now administration, this seems not coincidental at all.
Senate Rule XIX probably hasn't been invoked in nearly 40 years
Senate Rule XIX is invoked so rarely that the last time reporters on Twitter were able to find it used was in 1979, when one old white man called another an "idiot." Which, to be fair, seems like a much more proper use of the rule.
1979: John Heinz (R-PA) invoked Rule XIX after Lowell Weicker (R-CT) called him “an idiot” and “devious.” Robert C. Byrd worked out a truce pic.twitter.com/G3UEOcDPjF— Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) February 8, 2017
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