cringe alert
December 15, 2017

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) made the most of his five minutes of questioning Thursday during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for President Trump's judicial nominees — much to the detriment of Matthew Spencer Petersen, a nominee for the U.S. District Court judgeship for the District of Columbia.

Kennedy's first question seemed pretty innocuous: "Have any of you not tried a case to verdict in a courtroom?" Petersen was the only one of the five nominees to raise his hand, thus inviting 10 seconds of brutal, rapid-fire questioning from Kennedy, as the Louisiana senator confirmed that Petersen had not tried a case in any of the following instances: a jury trial, a civil trial, a criminal trial, a bench trial, a state court, or a federal court.

After pleading his ignorance toward several legal terms, Petersen gave a rambling non-answer about his litigation experience in response to a question from Kennedy about his familiarity with "a motion in limine," which is a request made to exclude certain evidence from a trial. The motions are filed without a jury present and are decided by judges. "Just for the record, do you know what a motion in limine is?" Kennedy asked again. Petersen replied, "I would probably not be able to give you a good definition right here at the table."

If confirmed, Petersen would be charged with trying federal and civil cases in the District of Columbia's federal court, as well as evaluating issues of legality in proceedings. Watch him squirm under Kennedy's relentless questioning — if you can do so without cringing — below. Kelly O'Meara Morales

October 31, 2017

On Wednesday, the GOP is expected to unveil its new tax plan, and Senate Democrats are making their stance on the matter cringingly clear. Hopping on the hype train for Stranger Things 2, they tweeted this Tuesday in anticipation of the coming bill:

The "upside down" — the alternate dimension within the universe of Stranger Things — is home to all sorts of terrifying sights that threaten to break through into the real world. Are "planned middle class tax hikes" as spooky as the nightmarish monster that terrorizes Hawkins, Indiana? What about clunky attempts at relatability? Apparently, we won't have to wait long to find out. Shivani Ishwar

See More Speed Reads