Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said "it's irrefutable" that the Republican party's reaction to President Obama's judicial nominations "has gotten out of control" in a press briefing Tuesday. 

Asked why President Obama appeared "heated" during a press conference in the Rose Garden this morning announcing his judicial nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court, Carney cited the GOP's delay in approving nominations.

"The president spoke today because this is an issue that is vital to the carrying out of justice in our system of government," Carney said. "As the president made clear, his nominees have been subjected to political obstruction repeatedly."

The press secretary cited Caitlin Halligan, whose nomination to the Court was withdrawn in March, as an example of a highly qualified judicial nominee filibustered by the GOP.

When a reporter asked him to address Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) suggestion that seats on the D.C. Circuit be shifted away to address the heavier workloads of other courts, Carney said that claim is "spurious on its face."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is introducing a bill in Albany Tuesday that would strengthen abortion rights in the state.

The 10-point Women's Equality Act would "protect a woman's freedom of choice," as well as address other roadblocks to full equality that New York women face, such as unequal pay and sexual harassment in the workplace.

In Tuesday's Albany Times-Union, Cuomo counsel Mylan Denerstein asserts that the bill would simply codify Roe v. Wade into New York state law, not push the boundaries of abortion rights.

"There is no expansion of abortion rights in this bill," she writes in an op-ed. "The governor is simply seeking to align our outdated state law to existing federal law and protect the rights women already have."

The proposal itself states that the "state shall not deny a woman's right to obtain an abortion as established by the United States Supreme Court in the 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that an increasing number of working mothers are the root of America's educational troubles.

In a Washington Post Live discussion with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) on early childhood literacy, moderator Mary Jordan asked the three participants how America's educational outcomes became "so mediocre." Bryant was the first to respond.

"I think both parents started working," Bryant said. "The mom got in the work place."

The governor realized the implications of his answer and quickly clarified the response, stressing the role of parents in education.

"In today’s society parents are so challenged," he said. "They’re working overtime.”

Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the Boston marathon bombing suspect, said he was eating well and doing fine in a military prison outside Boston in his first phone call to family since the event.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev, the suspect's mother, recorded the phone call last week. She shared the tape, the first recording of Tsarnaev's voice since the marathon bombing, with the U.K.'s Channel 4 News in an emotional interview on Monday. 

"They are giving me rice and chicken now, everything's fine," Tsarnaev told his mother.

"You are my life, you need to be strong," his mother replied.

"Everything is good, please don't say anything," Tsarnaev asked.

Tsarnaev's mother continues to assert her son's innocence, suggesting that he was framed by police.


Retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck published a memoir titled Warrior Princess on Tuesday describing her 20-year military career and and her experience coming out as transgender.

Beck was a member of SEAL Team 6, famous for carrying out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, although she retired from the military shortly before the team was sent to Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011. Previously, Beck went by the name Chris and decided to undergo hormonal therapy after leaving the service.

Although the 2011 repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell brought an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military, transgender men and women are still banned from service. 

Beck's fellow SEALs were supportive of her gender transition, according to the Atlantic Wire.

New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) said that the special election to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who died Monday of complications from pneumonia, should be held in November--or he'll take legal action against Gov. Chris Christie (R).

“It needs to be happen in November,” Sweeney told the Newark Star-Ledger. “I know there is some conflicting information, but you cannot disenfranchise voters for 17 or 18 months.”

The state senator admitted that there is conflict between state laws outlining the process for filling a senate seat before a term expires, but said that the governor must allow New Jersey residents to vote as soon as possible.

Sweeney told the Star-Ledger that if Christie ignores his advice, “We’ll take it to court.”

This post has been updated.

Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Fla. socialite swept up in the sex scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus, filed a suit with her husband against the FBI and Department of Defense on Monday for defamation and violation of privacy.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, alleges that FBI director Robert S. Mueller and unnamed Department of Defense employees "willfully and maliciously" implicated the couple in the scandal surrounding Petraeus' extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell after they approached the FBI with private information to report cyberstalking and threats.

Emails between Kelley and General John Allen, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan , surfaced during the probe into Petraeus' affair. In an interview published in January, Kelley denied the claim that she exchanged upwards of 30,000 emails with Allen.

Read the complaint here.

Several residents of Security-Widefield, Colo. received invitations to join the Ku Klux Klan on Sunday, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.

The Daily Gazette reports that residents of three suburbian streets found ziploc bags taped to their mailboxes containing racist literature with a phone number that when dialed leads to a voice message advocating white supremacy. The U.S. Postal Inspector will investigate the mailings, as the invitations appear to violate federal law.

At least one resident contacted the FBI to request that the bags be tested for ricin, according to KMGH Denver.

The latest salvo against the Internal Revenue Service came from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday, who called for abolishing the agency and instituting a flat tax. 

In an interview with Fox News, Cruz said that the agency's scope of power, which is set to increase as it assists the Obama Administration in implementing the Affordable Care Act, is an "invitation to being abused."

“We ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax, where the average American can fill out our taxes on a postcard," Cruz said. “Put down how much you earn, put down a deduction for charitable contributions, for home mortgage and how much you owe. It ought to be just a simple, one-page postcard.”