Stephanie Mencimer

Stephanie Mencimer

Reporter

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.

Sen. Whitehouse No Habla Espanol

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has done a good bit of babbling over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor this week. He's so proud of her that today, he confessed that she gives him "piel de gallina." That would be "goosebumps" for all you gringos out there.  The good senator was obviously trying to be nice by, you know, speaking her language. But throwing bad Spanish at the country's first Latina Supreme Court nominee is akin to questioning Justice Clarence Thomas in Ebonics. How much more patronizing can these guys be? Next we'll have Sen. Kyl demanding, "comprende Senora?" after one of his windy questions. It just shows why it might be a good idea to have a little more diversity in high places. A "wise Latina" might have prevented Whitehouse from making such an embarassing gaffe. Or at least she could help him with his accent.

Follow our live coverage of the Sotomayor hearings here.

 

Sen. Franken Flops at Sotomayor Hearings

Ok, maybe flop is a bit of an overstatement, but in Al Franken's much awaited debut on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the no-longer-funny comedian gave one of the worst performances of his life yesterday. Looking nervous, Franken delivered opening remarks at the confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor, tripping over his lines in a way he never seemed to on his other live performances. He did manage to pay tribute to the good citizens of Duluth, a sign that he's got the important parts of this senatorial job down. You can judge his performance for yourself here:

Cheeseheads Rule Judiciary Committee

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?

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