Sen. Kamala Harris took the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon to give an invigorating, condemning speech, warning her colleagues against confirming Sen. Jeff Sessions, the nominee for U.S. Attorney General.
Harris called Sessions to the carpet, recalling his history as an outspoken opponent of civil rights. The former California Attorney General argued that no matter what your experience in America, the public requires an individual who will uphold the law as the chief legal officer.
“It is the belief that no matter who you are, whether young or old, rich or poor, gay or straight. Whether you’re a child from Oakland or a child of Birmingham,” she said. “Whether you came here by plane to escape the hardships of war and torture, or by foot to build a better life. Whether you’ve been the victim of gun violence or opioid addiction. Whether you’re paid less than others doing the same work, or stopped at a red light because of the color of your skin–you deserve an Attorney General who recognizes the full human quality of all people.”
“The gains that our country has made are not permanent and it is incumbent on the Attorney General of the United States to fight for the civil rights of all people,” Harris said.
She countered Sessions’ legal tenure with the history of past Attorney Generals Herbert Brownell, Robert Kennedy, Eric Holder and Sally Yates, all of whom advocated for equality and fairness in the face of adversity.
“No one said it better than Coretta Scott King, ‘Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation. And if Senator Sessions won’t, then it is incumbent upon the rest of us to persist.’ I urge my colleagues to vote no,” she said at the end of her speech, reciting the 1986 letter King wrote to Congress denouncing Sessions’ nomination as a federal judge.
Sen. Kamala Harris Will Make A Public Case Against Confirming Sessions For Attorney General
California’s newly elected Senator Kamala Harris will pull from her lengthy legal career to lay the groundwork against confirming Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, according to a statement from her office. The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday evening.
Harris’ argument from the Senate floor will be broadcast on C-SPAN at 3:15 p.m. ET. The former California Attorney General’s speech follows a contentious political debate over Sessions’ controversial statements and legal actions in regards to civil rights.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was censured from speaking on the Senate Floor Tuesday evening after she attempted to read a letter Coretta Scott King wrote to Congress in 1986 denouncing Sessions’ nomination as a federal judge. In the emotional exchange, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked the presiding officer to instruct Warren to take a seat. Due to the ruling, Warren is barred from speaking during the remainder of Sessions’ confirmation. Warren, refusing to be silenced, finished reading the letter on Facebook moments later.
Harris also joined her Democratic colleagues to denounce the confirmation of newly appointed Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, during a marathon 24-hour session held from Monday to Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reports:
“Our country needs a Secretary of Education who has demonstrated basic competency when it comes to issues facing children,” said Harris (D-Calif.), who previously served as California’s attorney general. “She cannot or will not uphold the law if she does not understand the law.”
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times
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