Jennifer Bendery Profile picture
Senior politics reporter for HuffPost. President of Washington Press Club Foundation. Mama. 🏳️‍🌈 Tips: jen.bendery@huffpost.com
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6 Oct
Chuck Grassley tells Lucy Koh, a Korean American judicial nominee in a hearing today, that her Korean background reminds him of his daughter-in-law telling him that Koreans have "a hard work ethic" and "can make a lot out of nothing."

"So I congratulate you and your people.'" Image
Video of Grassley's comments to Koh in here: huffpost.com/entry/chuck-gr…
In this same hearing, Sen. Kennedy tried/failed to cast Koh as out of touch + rich, I guess?

Kennedy: "Do you know the name of the person who cleans your office?"

Koh: "Yes, Steve is the one who takes out the garbage ... and Eva is the one who cleans in the morning about 7am."
Read 4 tweets
6 Oct
Good morning! ☕️

Lots going on, but a thing that quietly slipped through last night was the Senate confirming the 4th Native American judge on the entire federal bench. huffpost.com/entry/native-a…
Lauren King, 39, was confirmed to a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Interesting vote on this one. Dems all voted for her, but so did a handful of Republicans. Including Mitch McConnell.
King is impressive in her own right.

Most recently was an attorney at the Seattle-based law firm Foster Garvey, P.C.

Served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013.

Taught Federal Indian Law at the Seattle University School of Law.
Read 12 tweets
5 Oct
At last, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearing this morning on the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Its authorization expired 2 years ago. The Senate has failed to reauthorize it ever since.
Senate GOPers killed VAWA reauth in 2019.

They rejected a bipartisan VAWA bill that passed the House. They opposed its new protections for LGBTQ & Native victims of abuse + a gun safety provision. They also couldn't agree on their own bill.

Total fail. huffpost.com/entry/violence…
Fast forward to this year. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) wrote an op/ed in April 2021 talking about her fight to reauthorize VAWA.

It was so full of mischaracterizations and spin that it was hard to make sense of. I tried in this thread:
Read 24 tweets
4 Oct
Schumer to Dems, in new Dear Colleague letter:

"Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: we must get a bill to the President’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period."
For anyone bored by talk about the debt limit: yeah, it sounds boring.

What is not boring is that Congress has until Oct. 18 to raise the debt limit, at the very latest, before the U.S. govt runs out of money. That's never happened before and would be an economic disaster.
Define economic disaster? Per a Moody’s Analytics analysis, failing to raise the debt limit in time could...

Plunge the U.S. into an immediate recession.

Cost the economy ~6M jobs.

Erase $15T -- with a T -- in household wealth.

Boost unemployment to 9%.
Read 17 tweets
21 Sep
A thing not getting much attention is that Biden just put another public defender into a lifetime seat on a powerful U.S. appeals court. That makes 4.

Huge shift from the corporate attorneys + prosecutors typically picked for these powerful jobs. huffpost.com/entry/veronica…
Biden has made this detail a real priority in his early judicial picks.

For some context: there are currently only 8 active judges within the entire U.S. appeals court system with experience as public defenders.

4 are from Biden.
Little more context on how underrepresented public defenders are on our courts:

There are currently 174 active judges on U.S. appeals courts.

8 have backgrounds as public defenders.

That's 4.6% having experience representing people in court who couldn’t afford an attorney.
Read 8 tweets
15 Sep
Gm! ☕️

ICYMI: One of Biden's nominees to a U.S. appeals court repeatedly declined to say if she thinks Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is “intellectually and morally bankrupt,” a characterization she endorsed in 2018.

Republicans went nuts. huffpost.com/entry/brett-ka…
A few notable moments from Jennifer Sung's confirmation hearing yesterday.

(1/5000)

JK (1/?)

(?/?)
Sung, a labor lawyer and former union organizer in Oregon, is up for a seat on the 9th Circuit.

Republicans took turns yesterday trying get Sung to say she did not feel this way about Kavanaugh anymore. Some made quite a show of it, esp Sen. Kennedy.
Read 17 tweets
14 Sep
Gm! ☕️

The Senate Judiciary Committee has begun its confirmation hearing for 2 of Biden's nominees to lifetime seats on federal appeals courts.

Beth Robinson, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Jennifer Sung, for the U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit
Robinson has been an associate judge on the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011.

If confirmed, she would be the first openly LGBTQ woman to serve on *any* U.S. appeals court. huffpost.com/entry/joe-bide…
Sung, a labor lawyer and former union organizer, has been a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board since being appointed in 2017.

If confirmed, she'd be the first Asian American judge from Oregon on the 9th Circuit.
Read 13 tweets
10 Sep
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued a statement today denying responsibility for letting loose the six zebras that have been on the run in the D.C. suburbs.
"Local news has reported that the zebras were let loose on Saturday or Sunday of last weekend, a period of time during which I was enjoying quiet time at home with family,” Norton said. “My alibi is solid."
Read 4 tweets
8 Sep
NEW: Progressive judicial advocacy group Demand Justice launches $1.5 million effort aimed at pressuring Democrats to support legislation adding seats to the Supreme Court huffpost.com/entry/demand-j…
Demand Justice's plans include hiring an in-house team of 6 people, working with Bernie Sanders’ campaign strategist Becky Bond + organizing an in-person lobby day on Capitol Hill in October ― timed with the anniversary of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
The group has already recruited 400+ volunteers to meet with nearly three dozen Democratic lawmakers’ offices to urge their support for The Justice Act, a bill that would expand the Supreme Court from 9 seats to 13.
Read 5 tweets
8 Sep
Biden just nominated another historic, diverse pool of people to be lifetime federal judges.

In the mix: nominees who'd be the first Korean American woman to serve on *any* U.S. appeals court + the second Black woman ever on the Ninth Circuit. huffpost.com/entry/joe-bide…
Notably, Biden also picked Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

If confirmed, she'd be the only Black woman serving as an active judge on *any* of California’s four federal district courts.
As of today, Biden has nominated a total of 43 people to be lifetime federal judges.

He's been confirming judges faster than any president in more than 50 years by this point in their terms. huffpost.com/entry/joe-bide…
Read 5 tweets
2 Sep
Democrats are vowing to fight to protect abortion rights after the Supreme Court's decision to let Texas' extreme anti-abortion law take effect.

Ok but how? huffpost.com/entry/biden-de… w/ @elisefoley
They're citing several possible actions: codifying Roe v. Wade, expanding SCOTUS, enlisting DOJ + HHS to ensure Texas women can access abortions.

But even as Dems control all of govt, the Senate filibuster could stop them from taking any major action.
What can Democrats actually do to ensure the preservation of abortion rights as Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance?

You can't codify Roe v. Wade without reforming/nixing the Senate filibuster.

You can't expand SCOTUS either.
Read 9 tweets
2 Sep
JUST IN: Nancy Pelosi announces the House will take up legislation to codify Roe v. Wade -- enshrining abortion rights into federal law -- as soon as the House returns from recess. huffpost.com/entry/nancy-pe…
Pelosi also railed against the Supreme Court's "cowardly, dark-of-night decision” to let Texas' extreme anti-abortion law take effect.

The Texas law bans abortions after 6 weeks and even awards $ to people who report on someone assisting another person terminating a pregnancy.
"SB8 is the most extreme, dangerous abortion ban in half a century," Pelosi said. "Its purpose is to destroy Roe v. Wade."
Read 4 tweets
11 Aug
Hilarious and absurd that Senate Republicans are celebrating passing a non-binding amendment to a non-binding resolution that bans Pre-K and K-12 schools from using federal $ to teach college-level education on structural racism. Well done, sir!
Thanks to Tom Cotton, our federal tax dollars* will NOT be used to teach my toddler about the concept that racism is an everyday experience for most people of color and that this has shaped America's legal and social systems.

*They already are not + this amendment has no effect.
What Cotton and other Republicans gloss over when they rail against critical race theory is that 1) they don't actually know what it is or don't want to know because it doesn't serve their political purpose and 2) it's an academic discipline not taught in K-12 public schools.
Read 11 tweets
10 Aug
Senate now voting on final passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Only needs 51 votes to pass.
This is going to pass, comfortably.

Lots of Republicans already voting yes, including Blunt, Burr, Crapo, Sullivan, Romney, Grassley, Tillis, Capito, Collins, Risch, Murkowski...
Vote still going, but they've already surpassed 51 votes.
Read 8 tweets
9 Aug
NEW: The Human Rights Campaign just hired an outside law firm to investigate whether its president, Alphonso David, inappropriately helped New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo push back against sexual harassment allegations. huffpost.com/entry/human-ri…
HRC's investigation into its own president will 1) last no more than 30 days and 2) look at whether David's efforts to help Cuomo push back against harassment allegations "aligned with HRC’s mission and values ... [and] professional and ethics standards." huffpost.com/entry/human-ri…
Interesting suspicious weirdness going on here.

HRC's board has been publicly standing by David, but also noted to staff this morning that "HRC’s employees, supporters, board members and partners have raised questions about the appropriateness" of David's actions.
Read 13 tweets
2 Aug
GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who raised his fist in solidarity with white supremacists before they attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, calls for "an investment in love" by not teaching children about racism in American history huffpost.com/entry/josh-haw…
"Let’s make it together ― and now." -- Josh Hawley on making love to America, or making investments in love, or ... something
Hawley gives examples of how schools can teach kids about American history through a rosy lens:

"This isn’t a ­nation of oppressors. This is a nation of liberators," he says.

(We were founded by white colonizers who slaughtered Native Americans in the name of civilization.)
Read 15 tweets
29 Jul
Meanwhile on the National Mall, Tribal leaders + activists about to present @SecDebHaaland with a totem pole carved by Lummi Nation carvers, as a gift to Biden to urge his immediate protection of sacred sites.

Brenda Mallory of the WH Council of Enviro Quality speaking now.
Also here: Obama's former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell + Hawaiian Dem Rep. Kahele.
Sec. Deb Haaland is about to speak.

She's wearing a mask with a red handprint across her mouth, a symbol of the horrific but still mostly invisible crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Read 13 tweets
29 Jul
Good morning!

House Republican leaders Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise + Elise Stefanik -- all of whom voted to overturn the presidential election based on a lie that fueled an insurrection at the US Capitol -- are holding a press event to discuss "the failed leadership" of Biden.
I do not think these Republican leaders who voted to overturn the presidential election + spread a lie that fueled a deadly insurrection realize the irony of hosting a press event with a sign that reads "Country in Crisis."
Kevin McCarthy declares the "country is in crisis" and then begins complaining about ... having to wear masks.
Read 16 tweets
28 Jul
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are moving forward with more of Biden's judicial nominees this morning.

Five are getting their confirmation hearing. 1 appeals court nominees, 4 district court nominees.
Today's appeals court nominee, Toby Heytens, is a law professor at UVA and currently the solicitor general of Virginia. He's up for a seat on the 4th Circuit.

He also previously clerked for RBG on the Supreme Court.
Sen. Kennedy is asking Heytens about "penumbras" in the Constitution.

"Are there other penumbras that we can't see?"

"Do you think there are other penumbras out there, lurking out there, that we can't see?"

Heytens: "I'm not sure I think there are other penumbras out there."
Read 4 tweets
27 Jul
Good morning! ☕️

In a few mins, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding its first hearing with a panel of police officers who were fighting the mob that day.

There will be new, violent video footage presented, per committee aides.
Hearing is expected to go about 2.5 hours.

Dem chairman Bennie Thompson will give opening remarks, followed by Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.
I think you can watch it online here, but there's no livestream going yet. c-span.org/video/?513434-…
Read 46 tweets
26 Jul
In call with reporters, Rep. Adam Schiff says there will be new video footage from the Jan. 6 Capitol attack presented when the Jan. 6 House committee holds its first hearing on Tuesday.
These videos will "include depictions of violence," so be prepared if you tune in, warns a committee aide.
Some of the Jan. 6 video footage will be familiar to Hill reporters, says Schiff.

"For the viewing public, most of it is going to be new."
Read 6 tweets