Tiefer: Warren ‘silencing’ much more than clash of personalities

Professor Charles Tiefer

Professor Charles Tiefer

Professor Charles Tiefer has published an article in the Harvard Law and Policy Review that examines the story behind the story of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “silencing” on the Senate floor earlier this month.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled out a rarely used Senate rule to stop Warren from reading aloud from a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King in which King called Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general, a racist.

Media reports treated the episode as a click-worthy tale of clashing personalities, Tiefer wrote.

“In the news bite version of the story, the Warren silencing was simply a clash of personalities against a background of quaint Senate rules that date to times when the chamber functioned as a ‘club’ of distinguished gentlemen who used aristocratic norms of address,” Tiefer said in “The Silencing of Senator Warren” (Feb. 22, 2017).

But, he says, the media missed the message:

“Much more daunting than a one-cycle news bite or a catchy hashtag, the incident in fact revealed that today’s narrow Republican Senate majority is poised to use procedure to subjugate the minority Democrats to an extreme.”

Learn more about Professor Tiefer.

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