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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 catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

A Minnesota state representative used a racially charged epithet in a tweet he later deleted Tuesday to refer to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

"VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas," State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) tweeted in response to the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act.

After receiving a firestorm of negative responses to the tweet, Winkler deleted that message and apologized in further tweets, claiming that he "did not understand 'Uncle Tom' as a racist term" and that "there seems to be some debate about it."

"I intended to point out the fact that Justice Thomas had turned his back on African-American civil rights," Winkler told the Star Tribune in an interview. "I did not intend it as a racially derogatory term and I probably reacted too hastily in using a word that is very loaded. He said that he thought of the term as simply one that meant turncoat. I guess my judgment is way off." 

Follow Rep. Winkler's responses to his original deleted tweet below:

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South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) praised the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act Tuesday, claiming that a provision struck from the legislation had "imposed an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty."

“For nearly 50 years, Sections 4 and 5 have imposed an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty in certain states, including South Carolina," Wilson said in a statement posted on the attorney general's website. "Over time, great strides have been made and Sections 4 and 5 have become obsolete.

“Today’s decision means the voting rights of all citizens will continue to be protected under the Voting Rights Act without requiring a different formula for states wishing to implement reasonable election reforms, such as voter ID laws similar to South Carolina’s," he continued. "This is a victory for all voters as all states can now act equally without some having to ask for permission or being required to jump through the extraordinary hoops demanded by federal bureaucracy.”

Wilson isn't the first South Carolina GOP politician to defend the Supreme Court's decision: earlier in the day Rep. Jeff Duncan (R) called the ruling a "win for fairness" and a win for the state of South Carolina.

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Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) called on the Supreme Court on Tuesday to remember America's history by "walking in the shoes" of those who gave their lives in pursuit of voting rights, which the court took a swipe at earlier that morning when it struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

"My message to the members of the United States Supreme Court is: remember, don't forget, our recent history," Lewis said in an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "Walk in our shoes […] come and walk in the shoes of those three young men that died in Mississippi. Come and walk in the shoes of those of us who walked across that bridge on 'Bloody Sunday,' March 7, 1965."

Mitchell asked Lewis if the congressman thought when the Voting Rights Act was signed into law that a court could someday strike it down. Lewis said he wouldn't have believed it -- and vowed to carry on the fight for voting rights despite the court's ruling.

"I didn't think that on that day when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act that I would live to see five members of the United States Supreme Court undoing what President Johnson did with those pens," Lewis said. "I have one of the pens that he used to sign that law at my home in Atlanta. And when I get home, I will pick up that pen."

Watch the interview below: 

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Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said Tuesday that the Supreme Court's decision to strike Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act "put a dagger in the heart" of the landmark legislation.

“What the Supreme Court did was to put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Lewis told ABC News. “This act helped liberate not just a people but a nation.”

“We don’t want to go back," he added. "I’m shocked, dismayed, disappointed. I take it very personally. I gave a little blood on that bridge for the right to vote, for the right to participate in a Democratic process.”

Lewis, who participated in nearly every major civil rights event of the 1960's, including the "Bloody Sunday" march on Selma, Ala., has been a longtime vocal supporter of the Voting Rights Act. 

Watch Lewis' interview with ABC News below:

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that he'd rather not intervene in the case of Edward Snowden, who is wanted in the U.S. on charges of espionage for leaking National Security Agency secrets, and likened navigating the diplomacy of the situation to "shearing a pig."

"I'd prefer not to deal with this issue at all—it's like shearing a pig—too much squeaking, too little wool," Putin said during a news conference in Turku, Finland, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal

Putin announced Snowden was free to transit out of Russia, adding "the sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it will be for us and for him."

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The Constitutional Accountability Center on Tuesday condemned the Supreme Court's striking of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which the think tank said prevents Congress from exercising its rightful power to stop the practice of racial discrimination in voting.

"Today is a sad day for all Americans who care about protection of one our most fundamental rights, the right to vote," said David Gans, the center's civil rights director, in a press release. "In striking down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act, the Court flouts the text and history of the Fifteenth Amendment, which expressly give to Congress broad powers to prevent and deter all forms of racial discrimination in voting.

"As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained in a powerful dissent," he continued. "Congress properly used these broad constitutional powers to prevent current and ongoing racial discrimination in voting concentrated in the covered jurisdictions.

"Justice Ginsburg further explained that Congress was not required to update the coverage formula, because the Voting Rights Act's 15,000-page record in 2006 shows that pre-clearance continues to cover the jurisdictions with the worst record of voting discrimination."

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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said Monday that sex-ed programs in schools aren't necessary because "mankind has existed for a pretty long time without anyone ever having to give a sex-ed lesson to anybody," according to Right Wing Watch

Gohmert digressed from a discussion with radio program WallBuilders Live on "indoctrination" of students in the American education system to comment on public schools' sex-ed programs -- then digressed even further to say those programs remind him of the Soviet Union.

Read more of Gohmert's comments.

[h/t Political Wire]

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A South Dakota teenager was shot and wounded Saturday morning, The Mitchell Daily Republic reported Monday. Authorities said it was an accident.

Logan Evans, 18, of Plankinton, S.D. was driving a car with three other teens when he pointed a 9mm pistol at the victim, who was sitting in the back seat, according to the local sheriff's office.

Hanson County Deputy Sheriff Casey Tegethoff told the Daily Republic that Evans "didn't intend to shoot" the victim and thought the gun was not loaded when he allegedly pulled the trigger. The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.

Tegethoff said the investigation is ongoing, and the names of the victim and witnesses, who are minors, will not be released.

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Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday urged Russia to "uphold rule of law" and aid the U.S. in its mission to apprehend Edward Snowden, the former defense contractor wanted on espionage charges.

"Our country is doing everything that's possible," Kerry told CBS News. "We have a coordinated effort between the State Department and Justice Department, the FBI, the White House in an effort to try to persuade our Russians colleagues that this is important. Important to the U.S., important to them, in terms of upholding rule of law. We have returned 7 prisoners to them in the last two years that they requested. I think it's very important to them to adhere to the rule of law and respect the relationship."

Watch the interview below, courtesy of CBS News:

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The official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party railed against the U.S. government's accusation that the Chinese government compelled Hong Kong to let National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden flee to Russia in a front-page commentary published Tuesday, according to the Guardian.

"Not only did the US authorities not give us an explanation and apology, it instead expressed dissatisfaction at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for handling things in accordance with law," said the overseas edition of China's People's Daily, as quoted by the Guardian. 

The commentary also expressed concern over Snowden's allegations that the U.S. had hacked computer networks in China.

"In a sense, the United States has gone from a 'model of human rights' to 'an eavesdropper on personal privacy', the 'manipulator' of the centralized power over the international Internet, and the mad 'invader' of other countries' networks," the piece read.

"The world will remember Edward Snowden," the op-ed continued. "It was his fearlessness that tore off Washington's sanctimonious mask."

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