Coretta Scott King wrote a letter opposing Jeff Session's confirmation for appointment as a federal judge. See Example(s)
Alabama senator Jeff Sessions was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as his administration’s Attorney General, and as Sessions’ confirmation hearings unfolded in January 2017, criticism of his record by civil rights activist Coretta Scott King resurfaced after two decades.
Coretta Scott King, who founded the King Center for Nonviolent Change following the 1968 assassination of her husband, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 1986 urging the committee not to confirm Sessions’ appointment as a federal judge.
The letter was never entered into the congressional record by the committee head, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, but the Washington Post published it in its entirety on 10 January 2017.
King’s letter accused Sessions of abusing his authority while investigating voter fraud allegations two years earlier as a federal prosecutor in Alabama, stating in part:
In initiating the case, Mr. Sessions ignored allegations of similar behaviors by whites, choosing instead to chill the exercise of the franchise by blacks because of his misguided investigation. In fact, Mr. Sessions sought to punish older black civil rights activists, advisors, and colleagues of my husband, who had been key figures in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. These were persons who, realizing the potential of the absentee vote among Blacks, had learned to use the process within the bounds of legality and had taught others to do the same. Their only sin the committed was being too successful in gaining votes.
Making Sessions a federal judge, she wrote, “would irreparably damage the work of my husband” and other advocates for voting rights:
Through many dangers, toils and snares, she served as a partner of Dr. King in the monumental and peaceful drive for equality. All Alabamians should be proud of Mrs. King’s role in that effort to make America and Alabama a better place.
On 7 February 2017, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) attempted to read King’s letter on the Senate floor to protest Sessions’ nomination, but was forced to stop after Republican senators voted to silence her. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) invoked Senate Rule 19, which states that “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.”
By reading King’s letter, McConnell argued, Warren had “impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama.”