Senate

Senate Rules Like the One Used to Silence Elizabeth Warren's Criticism of Jeff Sessions are Dumb, Arcane, and Self-Aggrandizing

Senators should not be afforded special privileges shielding them from vigorous criticism.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was told to take her seat during a late-night debate session last night over attorney general designee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) invoked the Senate's Rule 19, which states that senators may not "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." Warren is now barred from speaking on the floor of the Senate until after the vote on Sessions' nomination, which is expected today.

Facing the near certainty of the Republican-controlled Senate voting to confirm Sessions, Democrats have planned to use every available minute of debate time to hit Sessions on his past statements and actions, sometimes invoking iconic figures to drive their point across.

This is what Warren did when she quoted the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who in 1986 opposed Sessions' nomination for a federal judgeship by saying, "He is, I believe, a disgrace to the Justice Department and he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position." This quotation drew a warning from Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who asserted that Warren was in violation of Rule 19—which Warren reasonably found to be a bit of a stretch as Kennedy had been a senator at the time he was speaking about Sessions, who was not yet a senator.

Warren later quoted a letter penned by Martin Luther King's widow, Corretta Scott King, where she addressed the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) in 1986 to oppose Sessions' nomination to the federal court on the basis that as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, "Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens."

This was a bridge too far for McConnell, who said Warren had "impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama," and thus invoked Rule 19, forcing a vote that split down party lines, 49-43, to silence Warren for the rest of the debate on Sessions. McConnell later added, "Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation…nevertheless, she persisted."

Other pearl-clutching Republicans like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) fretted that Warren's quotations were "offensive" and constituted a "constant diatribe" that would lead the upper chamber of Congress "down a very steep path to oblivion." And because even a stopped clock is correct twice a day, legendary over-legislator Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the invocation of Rule 19 "selective enforcement" which could in theory be used "virtually every day in the Senate."

Derek Hawkins writes in the Washington Post that Rule 19 came into being following a 1902 fistfight on the floor of the senate between two Democratic lawmakers from South Carolina. It's not clear how often the rule has been invoked, but suffice to say, it's been rare. Bloomberg's Greg Giroux dug up this nugget from 1979, where the rule was used to censure a Republican senator who called a fellow Republican an "idiot" and "devious." Then-Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.)—whose most prominent legacy after 41 years in the Senate was being the "keeper" of the many arcane and self-aggrandizing Senate rules—reportedly brokered a truce between the two sparring Republicans.

While the words of Kennedy and King may not be pleasant to the delicate ears of GOP senators, to characterize them as beyond the absurdly stuffy rules of senate decorum is ridiculous. Whether one agrees with her point or not, Warren was attacking Sessions' professional conduct before he was in the senate—it was not an ad hominem personal attack, and should absolutely be fair game for debate.

Regardless, it's simply ridiculous that senators should enjoy special privileges shielding them from vigorous criticism just as they are about to be promoted to cabinet-level positions. Debates over confirmations are precisely when the gloves should come off, and lawmakers should be able to defame and defend their colleagues based on fact-based arguments and not hide behind superficial pretenses of collegiality.

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  1. Fuck Jeff Sessions.

    1. and Elizabeth Warren too? wait, fuck em all…

      1. Wait. Are you both sick bastards or what?

        No! and never!

    2. fuck jeff sessions and fuck petty rules that everyone loves to abuse!

  2. If you can’t shut someone’s political career path down by calling them a racist then I don’t know what tools you leave people.

    1. That’s great!

      And as a bonus, she gets a +3 “use of dead guy” modifier.

    2. political career path

      Well, there’s your problem….

  3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was told to take her seat

    I have it upon good authority that it was The Comfy Chair

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) invoked the Senate’s Rule 19 – no – the 20th Rule!

    1. Wait till they get to Rule 34.

      *shudders*

      1. There is NO rule 34.

        Rule 35…. no caught not drunk after dark.

        1. Right. And rule 36…no poofters. (Wait, can I say that anymore?)

    2. maybe can get her to clutch my pearls

      1. “Just grab ’em in the biscuits”

        /DJ Humpty Hump

  4. Regardless, it’s simply ridiculous that senators should enjoy special privileges shielding them from vigorous criticism just as they are about to be promoted to cabinet-level positions.

    I didn’t realize that the senate rules also kept the press, the Senators’ constituents, and off-duty Senators from criticizing Sessions in whatever manner they please. As if anything Warren says is going to change anybody’s vote. She’s clearly just grandstanding.

    That rule is in place to keep Senate debates from turning into poo-flinging.

    1. Those aren’t debates. I feel pretty confident the votes could be tallied before and after the speeches with no change.

    2. When the Senator on whose behalf it was invoked is being discussed pursuant to his fitness for a proposed job, it’s damn stupid. How do you propose discussing his fitness without disparaging him?

      Or to turn it around, is there a rule against lauding senators? If you can’t disparage them, you shouldn’t be able to praise them either.

      Or maybe Senator Warren needs to be clever and praise him in an underhanded way — “Senator Sessions has fucked more sheep than anyone I know”, or “I deplore those who claim Senator Sessions has fucked sheep”.

      It’s a stupid rule.

      1. You could point to specific actions taken on his own initiative that make him unfit. These were just statements that others thought he was icky with no real backing introduced.

        It may be a stupid rule, but they shouldn’t have a problem pointing to specific actions that make Sessions a bad candidate for AG.

        1. Coretta Scott King’s letter (the thing she was actually stopped from reading, as opposed to the warning she got about quoting Teddy Kennedy) was about a specific prosecution Sessions instituted while he was the US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. I’m not sure what more you’d want.

          1. She wasn’t citing evidence of this action. Calling to attention his history as the Alabama AG and the specific cases she’s referring to is citing action. Quoting someone else that isn’t citing anything specific so you can call him a racist is just flinging poo. It’s annoying that people like Warren can’t viably critique someone without saying they’re a racist and a homophobe.

            Also, fuck Jeff Sessions. I’d have been happy if Warren and the Democrats had successfully lambasted his credentials sufficiently to block his nomination because it might have led to a slightly preferable candidate being put forth. It’s too bad that they’d much rather grandstand and stick to the race panic narrative they’ve been using for the past 20 years.

      2. Actually, I think she had to say “the Gentleman from Alabama is a Racist Fuck just like the late Senator from West Virginia who we still stand in awe of, for being both a racist, a KKK member and a Democrat. Just like most of the former Gentleman Democrat Senators from south of the Mason Dixon line. And if I failed to mention the ex Senator and Vice President from the great rebel state of Tennessee who’s father also wore a hood, I apologize.”

        Then they could not have rule 19 her.

        This is what happens when you have non=professionals in the Senate dammit!

        1. Wait, “rebel” is incorrect Mr President, I meant to save “slave holding”. Please amend the record.

    3. Poo-flinging? “Argumentum ad baculum” is the technical term for the particular debating technique employed by Senator Preston Brooks against his esteemed colleague Senator Charles Sumner.

  5. Orrin Hatch is a cunt, this is known.

    1. yeah, but so is Liawatha…

      1. Oh, I despise Fauxcahantas, but I also hate the thin-skinned, self-entitled, arrogant pieces of dung that all long-serving senators and representatives seem to become.

        1. I know this is wrong, but I will say it anyway. As far as I am concerned, anything that silences Elizabeth Warren is good.

          If only we could require her to sit in the corner wearing a dunce cap for the rest of the session.

          1. the future is female…Warren, Pelosi, Waters…hahahahahahahahahahaha…just wet myself

  6. “”””when she quoted the late Sen. Edward Kennedy”””

    You mean the unindicted murderer and perjurer, Edward Kennedy

    1. And Mrs King who is the Hillary Clinton of the civil rights movement.

  7. OH MY GOD REASON ENOUGH TRUMP BASHING SESSION JUST WANTS TO KEEP OUR COUNTRY SAFE FROM THE TERRISTS AND DRUG DEALERS AND MURDERIN BLACKS

  8. yo Tony, when you get to the senate, be sure to change that one first…hahahahahahahahahaha

  9. GOOBLE GOBBLE, GOOBLE GOBBLE

    ONE OF US

    ONE OF US

    1. Lots of me.

      Lots of me.

      Lots of me….

  10. Not a fan of jeff sessions but dear god this wasnt a critique by warren. It was grand standing and name calling

    1. That’s all the Senate does. Have you watched a congressional inquiry lately?

      1. I prefer snuff porn, more culturally fulfilling.

    2. It was grand standing and name calling

      You’re using a lot of words to say “advise and consent”. The process ain’t pretty, but quoting what other people have said about the nominee, however “alternative fact-y” those quotes might be, should be an allowed part of the discovery process of vetting a candidate.

      1. The point is, nothing she says is going to change the vote totals, so it is grandstanding.

        And there is good reason to not want the Senate chambers to degenerate into a poo-flinging contest, which is what you’d have if they were permitted to attack each other like Warren is doing to Sessions.

        1. That’s fine, for other contexts… but when the subject under discussion is the fitness of somebody to be appointed to another position, in my mind they are no longer a Senator subject to those protections of rules. The poo flinging is open season when discussing appointments. If the arguments are without merit, she’ll just look like an ass and the public will recognize it as such. But no appointee should be shielded just because of whatever office they happen to hold, that’s just aggrandizing the political class

          1. *in my mind they are no longer a Senator *

            Your mind sounds like a fun place to visit. Any other laws & facts suspended in your mind? Gravity, perhaps?

      2. Calling what she did “advice and consent” sure sounds alternative fact-y to me.

  11. OH MY GOD REASON THE JEWS IN THE MEDIA AND JUDICIARY ARE TRYING TO DESTROY OUR FAIR COUNTRY AND YOU JUST BASH TRUMP AND IGNORE THE TERRIST ATTACKS GOING ON ALL AROUND US AND THE BAD GUYS POURING IN TO KILL US ALL WAKE UP SHEEPLE !!!!11!!1!

  12. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was told to take her seat

    *outright, prolonged laughter*

  13. Tony, you mean to say you don’t enjoy “special privileges shielding you from vigorous criticism “?

  14. This is what Warren did when she quoted the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who in 1986 opposed Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship by saying, “He is, I believe, a disgrace to the Justice Department and he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position.”

    You know that they say, Teddy: people who live in glass houses shouldn’t leave a woman to drown at the bottom of a lake.

    1. When I saw the article title concerning Dumb, Arcane & Self Aggrandizing and it included Elizabeth Warren, I thought how accurate and timely.

    2. tidal inlet to be precise, of course you could be referring to his cousin, the golfer

  15. Maybe they should have just smacked her ass and told her to sit the fuck down.

    Or does that only happen when one violates rules in decorum in the House?

    1. “Will the distinguished senator from Massachusetts go to the kitchen and make me a sandwich?”

  16. Please, let that woman talk. Let her talk all she wants to.

  17. We’re talking about a contentious confirmation hearing. The Democrats have held up hearings by refusing to attend. They’d filibuster if they could–something that’s no longer possible under Senate rules except for Supreme Court nominations, I understand? Assuming that Senator Warren intentionally broke the rules to bring attention to herself and criticism to Sessions and his confirmation is giving her the benefit of the doubt. It suggests she’s using the rules to advance her cause.

    What the Senate rules should be should be up to the Senate.

    All that being said, yeah, fuck Jeff Sessions. It’s too bad he was the only Republican with a political future Trump could trust to watch his back as Attorney General and protect him from scandal investigations.

  18. When I saw the article title concerning Dumb, Arcane & Self Aggrandizing and it included Elizabeth Warren, I thought how accurate and timely.

  19. While he’s a nominee for an appointed position, he is not a Senator. If you can say these things to some other nominee but not a nominee who is also a Senator, then that has to change.

    1. He’s still a Senator. He hasn’t resigned his seat, yet. But, I think the rule should apply to everyone. You should not be able to impugn a person’s character on the Senate floor, without a shred of facts.

      Reason should be all about this, since their foundation was attacked by Sen. Reid on the floor of the Senate. But, I guess sucking-up to Leftists is more important than asking our senators to behave like adults.

      1. You sure got it. And this shtick is not tiring at all.

  20. I mean, really, why would they want to stop white squaw from yapping if they want the Sessionasaurus to be approved?

  21. OH MY GOD REASON STOP JUST STOP RUNNING COVER FOR THE ENEMIES OF JEFF SESSIONS WHO WILL PROTECT OUR COUNTRY FROM THE PEOPLE WHOM WE TAUGHT TACTICAL SNIPERY OVERSEAS AND NOW ARE COMING BACK HERE TO SHOW OFF THEIR SKILLZ

  22. Yeah, I’ll go along with the notion that the rule is petty. But I suspect the proggies are going to take this tiny episode and make a big martyr of Warren. By the time they get done telling it, she was forcibly dragged out of the Senate by Brownshirts with shiny black boots who took her to a cellar somewhere and tortured her for several hours.

    1. That alone makes it a stupid decision on the part of Mitch “Galapogos” McConnell

    2. I think the rule is petty. But its invocation in this case is a different story. After years of Democrats using and changing Senate rules to get their way, the Republicans have decided to play hardball. This is not about Jeff Sessions’ honor. This is about McConnell asserting that dammit, the GOP is in charge and he won’t have the Senate run by the minority.

  23. If someone feels their honor has been impugned, let them challenge the offender to a duel.

    1. I’m on board with this.

  24. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was told to take her seat

    OH MY GOD! No doubt this atrocity caused poor Anthony Fisher to lie awake in bed all night long, trembling and clutching his Obama doll.

  25. lawmakers should be able to defame and defend their colleagues based on fact-based arguments and not hide behind superficial pretenses of collegiality.

    Assertions and hearsay are now “fact-based arguments”? Did Senator Warren offer up concrete examples of Sessions’ depravity, or was she merely slinging repackaged mud?

    I think Sessions is a horrible, horrible choice, but let’s have some serious and meaningful objections.

    “My sister told me he pushed her out of the treehouse when we were seven,” is not what I’m looking for.

    1. I can think of plenty of arguments against Sessions. And the yapping harpy is a senator for crikey sake and all she can come up with is ‘something something racist!’. Presidential material there, no doubt.

    2. A fact based argument, for example, is that Senator Warren is not an ounce of Native American and that she lied about her heritage to get an advantage in being hired at a pretentious…excuse me, ‘prestigious’ university.

  26. sometimes invoking iconic figures to drive their point across.

    This is what Warren did when she quoted the late Sen. Edward Kennedy

    Iconic…Ted Kennedy
    Iconic…Ted Kennedy
    Iconic…Ted Kennedy

  27. OH MY GOD REASON JEFF SESSIONS JUST WANTS TO ROUND UP THE MILLIONS OF BAD GUYS ALREADY IN OUR COUNTRY AND HOLD THEM IN PRISONS UNTIL THE WALL IS BUILT IT IS ALREADY BEING DESIGNED AS WE SPEAK AND THEN DEPORT THEM ONCE ITS COMPLETE AND YOU WOULD HAVE HIS FINE REPUTATION BE SMEARED BY OUR ENEMIES WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU YOU LOVE VIOLENCE DONT YOU

    1. OH MY GOD Weigel, take your fucking meds already.

    2. WHY DO YOU WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS

      1. It’s an idiot sock.

        1. The fuck is an idiot sock. Have you lost your mind? Are you completely insane?

          1. Johns personal troll ^^^

            1. Now now Hihndication, I love all the trolls equally.

              (Just kidding, Tony is my favourite)

      2. WHAT DOES YOUR HANDLE MEAN

    3. DON’T FEED THE TROLL!

  28. I suppose that sort of stuff works for them. I assume Maddow enjoyed a nice smirk at how evil team R is for telling her to be polite.

    But that is a really, really lame argument. She has to go back multiple decades to get pull quotes from other partisan hacks, and not even actual examples of things he did himself.

    When you have Sessions to work with, you really should be fighting on straight ideological grounds. But they don’t even think of that because they are only pro-civil liberties in a “wave the flag for the silly young folks” kind of way, not in any “actually having principles” kind of way.

    They went full-tard trying to stop the Secretary of Education from being confirmed – and that job has almost no real power. So where do you go from there? This guy will have real and meaningful power that actually affects the lives of all of us. And this is how you are blowing your wad? “30 years ago, noted race-baiting hack for the DNC said he was a hindrance to black people voting”. How about what he actually voted for, sponsored and said over the last 4 years. That’s much more fertile ground, even if you don’t get to toss out the race card nearly as hard.

    1. That’s much more fertile ground, even if you don’t get to toss out the race card nearly as hard.

      But the race card was so effective in the last election cycle!

  29. I see your point, but every parliamentary body has rules of decorum. In the British House of Commons a member can be thrown out for accusing another member of lying.

    The worst part about out current president is how crass he is. We don’t want the most esteemed legislative body in the world, the US Senate, to have its debates reduced down to cable TV smack downs.

    I’m sorry, but we should try to make Civil Discourse Great Again (Reason commentators exempted, of course)

    1. I can’t remember if it’s South Korea, Taiwan, or which east Asian country it is where their parliament will frequently explode into an all-out World Wrestling Federation style battle royal brawl, but it’s freakin’ awesome when it happens.

      1. It’s S. Korea, Taiwan, and I think it’s happened in Japan before, too. And none of those countries have stable governments. There are constant changes of power (except when S. Korea and Taiwan were virtual dictatorships).

        When legislators engage in hyperbole and use violence, it shows their constituents that that’s OK. Most countries envy the decorum that is shown in the US Senate and to a lesser degree the House.

        1. Ukrainian Parliament is also known for its donnybrooks.

      2. That’s World Wrestling Enterntainment

        1. how about sessions & warren in a cage match?

          1. Only if Steve Austin can ref the match and administer Stone Cold Stunners to both at the conclusion, then pour beers over their prone bodies.

    2. The worst part about out current president is how crass he is

      That does seem to be what a lot of people find objectionable, but I would argue the substance is worse than the style on many issues.

      We don’t want the most esteemed legislative body in the world, the US Senate, to have its debates reduced down to cable TV smack downs

      I have mixed feelings about that….

    3. We should have the British House of Commons form of debate. And questions! Holy crap, can you imagine?

      Obama would have be epic, with his smug condescension. He would have put plenty of republicans in their place, and at the same time we would have about 100 more “you didn’t build that” and Joe the Plumber moments.

      And Trump… wow. Maxine Waters would jump up and ask him if he still rapes 12 year old black girls, and Trump would talk about how dried up her cooze is and how nobody wants to bang her anyway. They would single-handedly put CNN, MSNBC and Fox out of business. Nobody would watch those talking heads bloviate when they could catch the political class going WWE on CSPAN.

      1. Question time would not be appropriate for our system, since the president is not a member of Congress, but an independent and coequal branch.

        1. True. The Congress cannot command the President to appear before them. I found it incredibly offensive when Senator Cruz challenged President Obama to a debate. A Senator has no standing to ‘challenge’ the head of the executive branch, but also the ‘head of state’.

          I think decorum and tradition, with regards to government, is really the way to resolve the divisions in this country.

          1. no, no, no…cage matches…preferably to the death!

      2. Question Period is way less interesting than you make it out to be, usually it consists of an opposing party member throwing a very soft criticism at their opponent, followed by the opponent’s party going “RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE” and then clapping when the opponent gives an equally soft and vapid response.

      3. *Obama would have be epic, with his smug condescension. He would have put plenty of republicans in their place, *

        You forgot your sarc tag.

        Here’s the transcript from your imaginary Obama Question Time:
        Um, uh, um, uh, um, uh, wee-wee’d up, um, uh, um uh, uh um.

  30. Whether fair or not, asking a woman senator to sit down because you don’t like what she is saying is a dick move.

    You just made Warren a martyr which is bad because she is very outspoken. She also has a lot more allies and avenues to get her message out now.

    1. On the contrary, Warren is already a hero to the left because she is a fact-free liar and hypocrite and outspoken about it.

      It’s good to send a message that she can be shut up from time to time.

      1. I would let her rave on and let her appear to be nutty and desperate. They shouldn’t view her as a threat. She is the gift that keeps on giving like Kellyanne Conway.

        1. Yarp. As a bunch of people defending McConnell have pointed out, the votes are already set. No one’s mind was going to change by her recycled talking points. So let her talk, relishing that her effort is futile and desperate.

    2. You’re absolutely right, the appropriate response is to ask Senator Warren about her penchant for raping babies.

    3. She also knows how to scam money from idiot leftists. I think the last haul was around 5 million. This should prime her up for an ‘impeach the entire GOP Senate’ scam.

      1. And now the money will pour in for her re-election fund.

  31. OH MY GOD REASON WE MUST DEMAND CIVIL DISCOURSE IN OUR LEADERS TO ENSURE THAT MODERATE AND REASONABLE VOICES SUCH AS MINE ARE NOT DROWNED OUT BY THE NUTTERS OTHERWISE THE VICIOUS TROLLS WILL SURELY BE OUR OWN UNDOING

  32. Someone who might know told me that Elizabeth Warren likes to rape babies using a strap-on.

    I’m not entirely sure if she does it for pleasure or as part of some obscure Native American ritual.

    1. You should send this to the #PizzaGate guys. Some of them are bound to take the bait and run with it. If you spin it right, you might be able to get a full-blown hacking investigation started.

  33. OH MY GOD REASON AMERICA NEEDS TO BE MORE LIKE THE UK WHERE REPRESENTATIVES CANNOT SLANDER EACH OTHER IN PUBLIC AND THEREFORE MUST SUPPRESS CRITICISM UNTIL IT ERUPTS IN VIOLENCE

  34. When does Sessions assume the office? Hide your weed and puppies.

  35. I want more fights in the Senate.

    Hell, I want dueling pistols to be readily available to Senators.

    1. +1 Preston Brooks

    2. baseball bats with nails…

  36. OH MY GOD REASON WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA DO YOU REALLY WANT US TO LOOK LIKE A BANANA REPUBLIC TO THE REST OF THE WORLD

  37. Can’t believe nobody has brought up the last time a Massachusetts senator insulted a Southern senator on the Senate floor.

    1. I was thinking of that whipping incident before the Civil War. It makes McConnell a snowflake in comparison.

    2. The best part is that they sold “pieces” of the “cane” as if it were a piece of the true cross. LOL

  38. should enjoy special privileges shielding them from vigorous criticism

    WTF does this even mean? It’s their club. They set the rules.

    1. There are things prosecutors can’t say in court, too.

    2. There are things prosecutors can’t say in court, too.

  39. I’m sure there was a flurry of articles here decrying the censure of Joe Wilson when he rightfully said “you lie” out loud during the SOTU some years ago.

    1. Just as I thought. There were no articles saying anything like this. A couple said what happened but not a one whining about the arcane rules, and not a one defended the fact that Wilson was correct in his assessment.

      I guess the cosmo-ing of Reason started a lot further back that we thought.

      1. Reason is doing it’s best to court Progressives. Libertarian moments for all! *flings moments at crowd like Oprah

      2. Need a safe space, special snowflake?

        1. No. I was just making note of the hypocrisy.

          1. Did Senator Warren yell “you lie!” at the president during the state of the union and get special praise on Reason? The situations are different.

            1. So some rules are more equal than others? Thanks for clearing that up, comrade.

        2. No but i need money can you help?

        3. It’s so cute that you Regressives projecting your Snowflakiness onto everyone else magically makes you not a pathetic, solipsistic crybaby.

          1. On the other hand it’s tiresome and pathetic how conservatives can spend decades doing nothing but whining about how the brown people and gays are oppressing them yet they have the gall to call others fragile snowflakes.

      3. 1) It wasn’t during the SOTU
        2) He was not censured
        3) It had nothing to do with “arcane rules,” it was a resolution brought to a vote because Democrats felt like doing it
        4) The resolution of disapproval did not stop Wilson from speaking further or affect his rights in the House in any way; it was just an embarrassing note on his record

      4. Seeing as the SOTU used to be delivered by letter, I doubt they have any rules of decorum for it, official or otherwise.

  40. The hell with Jeff Sessions, the hell with Fauxcahontas. That is all.

    1. Nuke them both from orbit, just to be sure.

  41. Let’s suppose this type of dialogue took place outside of the Senate. If average citizen Elizabeth Warren accused average citizen Jeff Sessions of being a racist scumbag, would we think anything ought to happen to either Warren or Sessions? Certainly I don’t think either one should face any official punishment from the state. If Sessions wanted to sue Warren for slander, he would be free to do so.

    But in the Senate, Warren can accuse Sessions of anything at all (and vice-versa) and the accuser is immune from prosecution for slander, due to parliamentary immunity. Should that be the case? If Warren defames Sessions, is this a violation of the NAP and should Sessions have a right to seek damages in court, whether in the Senate or not?

  42. I can only assume Mitch lost his temper at the bitch speaking ill of his friend. The only other possibility is sick as fuck: that Mitch thinks it’s in the GOP’s interest to make a national spectacle of demeaning Coretta Scott King. That may well be true for House members and maybe even a majority of Kentucky voters. I dunno, liberal pundits are all saying it was a crass flub. What does the right think?

    1. Why would i take you seriously? Are you a climate scientist? Are you a politician? Otherwise how can you determine what is correct or not

      1. What grade did you make it to in school?

        1. Ad hominem nice. Just like your leftie friends you dont have a real argument

          1. Sore subject?

            1. Nope. What grade did you make it to since you brought it up?

              A degree in climate science perhaps

        2. Obviously further than you since he knows not to end a sentence with a redundant preposition.

          1. He couldn’t even end his sentence with a period.

            1. He was just being efficient.

            2. Educatiom level is VERY important to Tony and leftists…right up until the very second where the other person is more credentialed.

              Then, their education all of a sudden becomes irrelevant, for some odd reason.

              1. Don’t mention education to lefties right now – too soon bro.

    2. Why would a leftist refer to female senator as a bitch? Is that what you really think of women reaching that high a level in our political system?

      No wonder so few on your side turned out to vote for Hillary Clinton with that kind of sexism infecting you.

    3. The right is astonished that McConnell missed a chance to roll over.

  43. Hate speech isn’t free speech, Ms. Warren.

  44. Reason has been catching a lot of flak from supporters for the way Trump is being covered, etc. Apparently, the Wall Street Journal is having their own problems.

    A few minutes ago, I was reading their website, and the title of the top story (from memory) was, “Republicans Rebuke Warren for Quoting Coretta Scott King”.

    Technically, that headline is probably accurate. She was rebuked for doing that, but a more honest headline might point out that she was breaking Senate rules. Someone might rightly argued that it wasn’t quoting Ms. King that drew the rebuke–it was breaking Senate rules.

    A few minutes later, now the headline has changed. It reads, “Republicans Rebuke Warren Over Letter Critical of Sessions”.

    1. Yea the misleading headlines annoy me. It is mainly now click bait

    2. What’s really the headline? Like, if you didn’t have your head up the GOP’s ass? She broke the rules according to the presiding senator. That’s restating the subject. The predicate is “by reading Coretta Scott King’s letter,” and is not merely incidental to the newsworthiness of the event.

      1. Why not go with Ted Kennedy?

        She was also rebuked for quoting Ted Kennedy against the rules.

        Are you claiming that there is no politically charged reason to emphasize the name “Coretta Scott King”?

        1. Are you claiming there’s not an equally political judgment being made by excluding that name? This was by all accounts an extraordinary move on Mitch’s part, even without the headsmacking irony with respect to the subject of racism. No need to defend him from it.

          1. She was grandstanding for her own ego. Nothing more.

            1. Why do you constantly defend Republicans, even the most cretinous of them?

              1. I am not defending republicans by pointing out she is grandstanding. Truth hurt?

                1. The other day, Tony accused me of supporting Donald Trump.

                  It was after a post in which I listed my criticisms of him–calling some of the things he’s done “wrong” and “unconstitutional”.

                  Tony only has one eye, and that one’s blind to anything that doesn’t reconfirm his preconceptions.

                  1. I do expect nonpartisan independent-minded supergenius libertarians to treat Donald Trump with at least as much skepticism as they did Barack Obama.

                    Or else I might get the impression that you guys are willing to take all manner of fascism and stupidity if it means lower taxes for billionaires.

                    1. Or else I might get the impression that you guys are willing to take all manner of fascism and stupidity if it means lower taxes for billionaires.

                      Just because we might think some of his policy proposals are questionable at best, and illegal at worst, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get a kick out of how much turmoil he’s caused for the current Republican/Democrat status quo.

                      Your side’s absolute emotional meltdown yesterday over a Cabinet appointee that does nothing but cut check to poor schools is just the latest episode in the pants-shitting adventure serial “Donald J Trump and the Ocean of Progressive Tears.”

                    2. *I do expect nonpartisan independent-minded supergenius libertarians to treat Donald Trump with at least as much skepticism as they did Barack Obama.*

                      So you expect them to vote for him, twice.

          2. It isn’t entirely accurate.

            She wasn’t rebuked for quoting Coretta Scott King per se. She can quote Coretta Scott King.

            The way she did it in this instance was against the rules.

            The way she quoted Ted Kennedy was also against the rules, but she can quote Ted Kennedy.

            She was rebuked for breaking the rules–not for quoting Coretta Scott King.

            1. “She was rebuked for breaking the rules” is a tautology. The controversy is why is it against the rules to quote Coretta Scott King on the nominee in question?

              1. It is not a tautology.

                She –repeatedly– broke Senate Rule 19. This rule forbids one Senator from impugning another.

                They can cite improper policy position, wrong interpretations of law–everything except attacking the person of the Senator.

                Warren cited several emotion based imputations of Sessions. This is not allowed.

                With all the valid issues that could be brought up–his positions regarding forfeiture, his stance on the WoD, the Democrats went with cheap 30 year old insults.

                1. “””With all the valid issues that could be brought up–his positions regarding forfeiture, his stance on the WoD, the Democrats went with cheap 30 year old insults.”””

                  Aye, but there’s the rub. How can Democrats oppose Sessions on forfeiture and the WoD, when chances are, they either explicitly support these policies, or at the very least, see nothing wrong with them?

                  Hence the cheap 30-year-old insults.

    3. Screw memory. By way of Google caching, the original full headline was “GOP Rebukes Elizabeth Warren for Reading Coretta Scott King’s Remarks Criticizing Jeff Sessions”

      It’s almost like the Wall Street Journal is editing its headlines out of a sense of journalistic integrity for the same reasons that Republicans censured Warren.

      I mean, that may not have been their innocent motivation for enforcing the rule, but isn’t that something like the logic behind the rule?

      1. A headline that is 100% accurate and captures all the major relevant details.

        But it makes the GOP look like assholes, so you don’t like it.

        1. You know what makes you look like an asshole?
          A mirror.

          1. I would have went with “visible light”, but a mirror is acceptable.

        2. She did talk about other things as well

  45. It looks like somebody got…Mitchslapped.

    ( ?_?)
    ( ?_?)>?@-@
    ?(?@-@)
    YYYYYEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

  46. Exceptions to the rules weren’t made to allow Warren the podium to go off on an ad hominem-rife screed on the floor, ergo everyone else is privileged. :'(

    1. Whether she was breaking the rule is completely open to interpretation, so the only real conversations here are whether the rule is ridiculous (as this article argues) and about political optics.

      1. Are you a political scientist? if so what is your career choice

    1. TROLL FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. I notice there’s also a rule against criticizing any state in the Union.

    Warren broke the rule against attacking her colleagues, but she also highlighted the rule’s arbitrary nature.

    You can insult someone so long as they’re not a colleague. You can insult a nominee for federal office so long as they’re not a fellow-Senator.

    Let Senators use the same invective against each other that they’re allowed to use against Joe and Jane Sixpack.

  48. Warren later quoted a letter penned by Martin Luther King’s widow, Corretta Scott King, where she addressed the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) in 1986 to oppose Sessions’ nomination to the federal court on the basis that as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”

    Yeah and Coretta King lied. He was prosecuting a case of improperly handled ballots in a majority black district where both candidates were black, if I recall correctly. The difference is that the candidate being prosecuted was a creature of the grievance cartel and the other wasn’t.

    1. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III hasn’t a racist bone in his body!

      1. I know, right, he may as well be named Kluxy McRacist Hitler IV!

        Oh, and thank you so much for putting me in a position where I wanted to defend him.

    2. Yeah, the case involved accusations of absentee ballot fraud in the county elections, where almost all of the candidates were black, and were based originally on complaints from black candidates. (Hans von Spakovsky says that there was one plausible white candidate among the several positions at issue). The FBI and the head of the DOJ Election Crimes Unit all signed off on the prosecution, and the Election Crimes guy still says today it wasn’t racist and was the right thing to do.

      The racism accusation is mostly based on the idea that the DOJ and Sessions ignored evidence of white absentee ballot fraud to go after some civil rights figures (possible, but I haven’t seen anything from inside the DOJ supporting the idea that there was similar evidence of white fraud that Sessions ignored), and that the case crashed and burned – the judge threw out a lot of the case, and the jury rejected the rest.

  49. I don’t like Sessions, I don’t like the rule…but, if I could use an dumb, arcane, and self-aggrandizing rule to make EW shut up, you bet your arse I’d use it.

  50. Did you fact check this before you published it, Anthony?

  51. I hope after this rebuke, they gave her a blanket to huddle with as she sat cross-legged on the floor packing her peace pipe.

  52. Rule 19 is to prevent the use of the sit-down gun.

    Paging Colonel Chestbridge…

  53. While I generally agree with the article, we should be clear about what is going on here. This isn’t “criticism” or debate. This is part of a deliberate campaign to smear everything and everyone associated with Trump to try and make it impossible for him to govern. They weren’t shutting down debate, they were shutting down propaganda, a speech made not for the purposes of governance or debate, but made for the media to use in their nightly attack cycle.

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