February 8, 2017 Last Updated 7:46 am

Senator shutdown for reading letter by wife of Martin Luther King; ‘radical’ magazines get their day, according to NY Post

Morning Brief: Audio stream of court hearing gathers huge audience as listeners prove fascinated by appeal court arguments regarding Trump executive order on refugees

The Senate was the scene of high drama when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used an obscure rule to shutdown the reading of a letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The letter, written in 1886, criticizes Sen. Jeff Sessions for using his “office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.”

For McConnell, reading the letter was enough to move to shutdown the testimony of Warren, saying that the Senator from Massachusetts of has “impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair.” In a straight party line vote, the Senate voted to prevent Warren from continuing.

The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins:

The silencing of Elizabeth Warren and an old Senate rule prompted by a fistfight

Republicans took issue when Warren quoted from a pair of letters written by the late Coretta Scott King and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) opposing Sessions’s ill-fated nomination to a federal judgeship in 1986. King’s letter accused Sessions of racial bias; Kennedy’s called him a “disgrace to the Justice Department.”

It was all too much for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said Warren had “impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama.” In an extraordinary move, the Senate voted on party lines to shut her down, as The Washington Post’s Paul Kane and Ed O’Keefe reported.

The mechanism used to silence Warren is known as Rule 19, an arcane and seldom invoked provision in the Rules of the Senate. The rule 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.”

Fox News, Edmund DeMarche:

Dems rally around Warren after senator silenced at Sessions nomination debate

Bernice King, the daughter of Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King wrote on Twitter, “Thank you @SenWarren for being the soul of the Senate during the #Sessions hearing.”

The Democratic National Committee said it is a “sad day in America when the words of Martin Luther King Jr’s widow are not allowed on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Warren went on to read the letter from King on Facebook, which attracted two million views, according to The New York Times, an audience likely far greater than she would have gained on C-SPAN. Supporters took to social media with the hashtag #LetLizSpeak and #ShePersisted as something as a rally cry.

Late yesterday afternoon there was an extraordinary example of the power of digital media when well over 100K people “tuned” in to the audio of a federal appeals court taking place in San Francisco. The three 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges listened to arguments, conducted by telephone, concerning an attempt to stay an order blocking parts of President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugee entry into the United States. The hearing, which lasted just short of an hour, featured spirited arguments and aggressive questioning of the attorneys – Justice Department attorney August Flentje representing the administration, and oah Purcell, solicitor general for the state of Washington.

Though several legal experts warned Twitter users not to read too much into the questioning of the judges on the appeals court, most observers think the administration will lose their appeal.

Politico, Jose Gerstein:

Court dubious of government arguments on Trump’s travel ban

The Trump administration had hoped to persuade the appeals court to stay the entirety of a Seattle federal judge’s order blocking key parts of President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 directive blocking all refugee admissions and suspending travel to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries.

However, the three 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges hearing the issue were skeptical enough of the government’s case that Justice Department attorney August Flentje repeatedly raised a fallback option that the appeals court rein in the Seattle judge’s order without lifting it altogether.

After claiming that the courts should have little or no role in reviewing Trump’s decision, Flentje quickly found himself on the defensive as two 9th Circuit judges pressed him on the potentially stark implications of that position.

TNM doesn’t cover awards. In fact, I’ll admit that every time someone gushes over winning an award I am tempted to remind them, and TNM readers, that most awards are handed out only to those willing to pay for the privilege.

But, I did find the coverage of the Ellie Awards by the NY Post pretty amusing.

NY Post, Keith Kelly:

‘Radical subversive’ magazines dominate the Ellie awards

Small, off-beat magazines dominated the industry’s annual awards competition on Tuesday, beating back their better-known, better-financed rivals…

Mother Jones won for reporting for Shane Bauer’s “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard,” Sarah Gray Miller, editor-in-chief of Modern Farmer won for General Excellence, special interest, and Pacific Standard won for photography.

“It was the year of the underground, radical subversive magazine,” GQ editor Jim Nelson said following the afternoon event as he went home without any hardware despite four nominations. “Good for them, they’re part of the resistance.”

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