Cory Gardner voted to stop Elizabeth Warren from quoting Coretta Scott King

Cory Gardner joined 48 other Republicans to make Warren stop talking because she read a letter from Coretta Scott King that was critical of Sen. Jeff Sessions.

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner. The Martin Luther King Jr. Marade, Jan. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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U.S. Senator Cory Gardner. The Martin Luther King Jr. Marade, Jan. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) mlk; marade; martin luther king jr; city park; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner braves the cold and snow in Denver’s Martin Luther King Jr. Marade, Jan. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Here’s what U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year:

“Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King changed the world through his actions because he taught the world to value unity, tolerance, and love above all else. Every year, on MLK Day, we remember Dr. King’s call and continue to work together as a nation to fulfill his dream. I am fortunate to celebrate Dr. King with Coloradans at today’s MLK Day Marade in Denver and am honored to participate in such a meaningful ceremony.”

And here’s how he voted Tuesday night when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to force Sen. Elizabeth Warren to stop reading the words of King’s widow into the Senate record: Yes.

Warren was reading a letter the late Coretta Scott King wrote in opposition to Sen. Jeff Sessions — then a U.S. Attorney in Alabama — being appointed to a federal judgeship when McConnell stepped forward to accuse her of violating Rule XIX, which prohibits senators from disparaging each other. Sessions is President Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General.

Warren insisted on a roll call vote. In fact, senators had to be called into the chamber to create a quorum.

In a party line vote, 49 Republicans, including Gardner, voted to make Warren stop talking and sit down. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, voted no, that is, to allow Warren to continue.

King, by the way, had to address her letter to Sen. Strom Thurmond, then the chair of the judiciary committee and a man who ran for president on a segregationist platform and who left the Democratic Party for the Republicans because he opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Sessions was not confirmed as a judge in 1986 because senators at the time had concerns about his beliefs on race and civil rights.

“Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens,” King wrote.

One of the people his office indicted for alleged voter fraud is still alive today and just penned on op-ed in USA Today about why she thinks Sessions would not make a good attorney general. She recalls the role that past attorneys general played in securing voting rights for black citizens and wonders whether she could count on Sessions to do the same.

Barred from speaking by her colleagues, Warren did what we do these days, and she went live on Facebook just outside the Chamber to read the letter to the nation.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.