Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at

Articles by Catherine

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) ripped into a witness Wednesday during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, debunking his claim to military disability status over an injury he suffered decades ago, according to the Washington Post.

A congressional investigation found that Braulio Castillo, President and CEO of Strong Castle, Inc., filed a claim for service-disabled veteran status in 2012 entitling him to lucrative business contracts. Castillo cited an ankle injury he sustained while at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in 1984.

Duckworth, who lost both her legs while serving in the Iraq War, was angered by Castillo's claim.

"I'm sorry that twisting your ankle in high school has now come back to hurt you in such a painful way, if also opportune for you to gain this status for your business as you were trying to compete for contracts," Duckworth said.

"Shame on you, Mr. Castillo," she added. "Shame on you. You may not have broken any laws … but you certainly broke the trust of this great nation. You broke the trust of veterans."

Watch Duckworth questioning Castillo below:

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) on Wednesday urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay on the injunction against Proposition 8 and allow same-sex couples to marry "as quickly as possible."

"I am calling on the Ninth Circuit today to urge them on the strongest terms that they lift the stay and enforce the permanent injunction that [Justice] Vaughn Walker outlined so marriages can begin in California immediately," Harris said in a press conference.

In response to a reporter's question, Harris acknowledged that the appeals court could legally delay lifting the injunction for a waiting period of 25 days, but again urged the court to use its power to lift the stay as soon as possible.

Harris further praised the Supreme Court's dismissal of the case on the grounds that its parties had no standing, arguing that their ruling sent the message that those who wish to challenge gay marriage "cannot do so simply because they don't like the notion."

Earlier in the day, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) issued an order to California county clerks mandating the issue of marriage licenses as soon as the Prop 8 injunction is lifted.

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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) Wednesday instructed the state Department of Public Health to deliver a notice to county clerks saying that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in California once the injunction on those marriages is lifted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The order comes directly in the wake of the Supreme Court's dismissal of the Prop 8 appeal.

"The effect of the district court's injunction is that same-sex couples will once again be allowed to marry in California," the notice said. "But they will not be able to marry until the Ninth Circuit issues a further order dissolving a stay of the injunction that has been in place throughout the appeal process."

It could be a month or more before that injunction is lifted and clerks are allowed to issue marriage licenses, according to the notice.  

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Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Wednesday said the Supreme Court's striking of the Defense of Marriage Act violated the "clear will" of the American people.

"Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted," Bachmann said in a statement.

"For thousands of years of recorded human history, no society has defended the legal standard of marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Only since 2000 have we seen a redefinition of this foundational unit of society in various nations.

"Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to join the trend, despite the clear will of the people’s representatives through DOMA.," she added. "What the Court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States."

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The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer was quick to cast the Supreme Court's ruling Wednesday on the Defense of Marriage Act as against the "laws of nature."

"The DOMA ruling has now made the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, incest and bestiality inevitable. Matter of time," the conservative radio host tweeted, and he continued to vow to defend marriage as "God has defined it."


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Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) called the Supreme Court's ruling on his state's Proposition 8 a "step forward for equality and freedom" -- and went as far as to predict that clerks in California would begin issuing marriage licenses Wednesday.

"I imagine some forward-looking clerks may issue marriage licenses in California today," Takano told MSNBC. "I challenge clerks in California to do so."

Takano told MSNBC that he "sensed a change" in his district and in the state of California, as he was elected as that state's first openly gay member of Congress just four years after Prop 8's passage. He predicted that the celebrations would ripple far beyond both Washington and California. 

"I imagine there will be dancing in the streets tonight in Washington and in cities across the country," he said.

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Matt Lauer confronted Paula Deen about her allegedly racist recorded comments Wednesday, days after Deen skipped out on an originally scheduled "Today Show" interview and was dropped from lucrative contracts, including the Food Network.

Lauer was blunt about the repercussions the comments and surrounding media firestorm had on Deen's business empire and pressed her to take a critical eye to her own brand.

"Given the same circumstances, would you have fired you?" Lauer asked.

"Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No."

Watch the interview below, courtesy of NBC News

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Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Wednesday he was "frustrated" with the results of an epic special legislative session after he declared at about 3 a.m. that the state's hotly contested abortion bill could not be passed.

Dewhurst said an "unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics" defeated the legislation he said was intended to protect women and babies, according to the Texas Tribune.

Protesters in the gallery erupted in cheers along with Senate Democrats when the clock struck midnight without a final vote having taken place, preventing Republican senators from completing the voting process within the constitutionally prescribed time and effectively defeating the bill.

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President Barack Obama congratulated Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) late Tuesday night on the congressman's victory over Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez for the open Massachusetts Senate seat.

"Ed has distinguished himself as a leader on many of the key challenges of our time—from fighting carbon pollution to protecting our children from gun violence to creating good, middle-class jobs,"  Obama said in a statement. "He’s earned a reputation as an effective, creative legislator, willing to partner with colleagues across the aisle to make progress on the issues that matter most. The people of Massachusetts can be proud that they have another strong leader fighting for them in the Senate, and people across the country will benefit from Ed’s talent and integrity."

Obama also thanked Secretary of State John Kerry, the former senator Markey will be replacing for the remainder of his term, for his service in both the Senate and the State Department.

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