Stephanie Mencimer

Stephanie Mencimer


Stephanie works in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. A Utah native and graduate of a crappy public university not worth mentioning, she has spent several years hanging out with angry white people who occasionally don tricorne hats and come to lunch meetings heavily armed.

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Stephanie covers legal affairs and domestic policy in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. She is the author of Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue. A contributing editor of the Washington Monthly, a former investigative reporter at the Washington Post, and a senior writer at the Washington City Paper, she was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2004 for a Washington Monthly article about myths surrounding the medical malpractice system. In 2000, she won the Harry Chapin Media award for reporting on poverty and hunger, and her 2010 story in Mother Jones of the collapse of the welfare system in Georgia and elsewhere won a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.

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Cheeseheads Rule Judiciary Committee

| Mon Jul. 13, 2009 5:40 PM EDT

Usually when people complain that the make-up of the Senate gives small, sparsely populated states too much power, they're thinking about Wyoming. But this week, with the Senate Judiciary Committee running the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, that dynamic has changed a bit. The Uptake, an outfit that's been streaming the hearings live through our website, has come up with a nice map to demonstrate the regional powerhouses in the confirmation hearing.

The obvious conclusion: Cheeseheads rule. Both senators from Wisconsin (Feingold and Kohl) are on the committee, as are both senators from Minnesota (Franken and Klobuchar), giving those states a big voice in how the hearings proceed and also, their ultimate outcome. Who knew Al Franken would end up such a player after only five days on the job?

Firefighters To Testify Against Sotomayor

| Thu Jul. 9, 2009 3:22 PM EDT

The Senate Judiiciary Committee has released the witness list for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings next week, and suprise surprise! Testifying for Republicans will be Frank Ricci, the name plaintiff in the now-infamous Connecticut firefighter case in which Republicans have accused Sotomayor of sanctioning "reverse racism." What he has to offer about Sotomayor's qualifications for the bench seems pretty limited, but we in the media can only hope Ricci will liven up what promises to be a pretty perfunctory proceeding. (Sadly, the Republicans don't seem to have invited that nunchuck guy, who also has a bone to pick with Sotomayor.)

Democrats plan to counter such testimony with witnesses of their own, most notably, former Major League Baseball pitcher David Cone. Cone was one of the beneficiaries of Sotomayor's decision ending the baseball players' strike. Presumably Democrats are thinking that Cone will mitigate whatever nasty things Ricci has to say about Sotomayor's view of the white male.

(Hat tip to The BLT.)

Gonzo Finally Gets A Job

| Wed Jul. 8, 2009 8:58 AM EDT

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been the butt of many jokes over the past year thanks to media reports suggesting that he was unable to secure gainful employment after his disasterous tenure in the Bush administration. Sadly, it looks like those jokes will have to stop, as the Harvard Law grad has landed a teaching gig for the fall at a prestigious institution of higher learning: Texas Tech, in Lubbock, Texas. The guy once predicted to be the first Latino Supreme Court justice won't be teaching law or anything like that. Instead, he'll headline a poli-sci course on contemporary issues in the executive branch, based, apparently, on what little he can remember of it.

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