TPM Cafe: Opinion

Scott Walker is on a mission to bring his midwest Protestant values to Washington—he even called his candidacy “God's plan.” The Wisconsin governor is jumping on the campaign trail just as he leaves a path of fiscal destruction in his wake at home. Walker has transformed his state into a petri dish for model conservative policies that have systematically assailed unions, women's rights and public benefits.

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In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry and that states are required to issue them marriage licenses. Yet many public officials have publicly encouraged people to break the law. Among them are attorneys, such as Texas governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. They may frame their opposition as standing up for what’s right. But according to the ethical rules of lawyers, public officials who are attorneys defying the Supreme Court by refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or encouraging others to do the same should be disbarred.

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Hillary Clinton signaled yet again that she’s really going to run a savvy, future-oriented campaign this time around by giving a speech at New York City’s New School on Monday, where she called out the “gig economy” for spreading job insecurity. “Many Americans are making extra money renting out a small room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home, or even driving their own car,” she explained. She praised this new economic model for “creating exciting economies and unleashing innovation,” but worried that it raised questions about “workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”

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In an order signed late Friday afternoon, the federal judge presiding over the federal trial of two former members of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle issued a subpoena ordering the governor’s lawyers to hand over notes and computer files used to produce the so-called Mastro Report.

Named after Randy Mastro, a partner at the white collar firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, the taxpayer-funded report was crafted at Christie’s behest in early 2014 to support his claim to have had no knowledge of the planning of four-day-long lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. According to federal prosecutors, the target of those closures was Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who declined to endorse Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign.

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Two weeks ago Senator Claire McCaskill, a Hillary Clinton enemy-turned-supporter, told Morning Joe’s audience what they already knew, that Bernie Sanders is “frankly, a socialist.” Whereas Obama denied the socialist accusation, Sanders affirms it, and the “s” word has done little to stifle the senator’s popularity. A week after responding to McCaskill, Sanders held a 10,000-person rally in Wisconsin. The following day, his aides announced his campaign has raised $15 million, and the following weekend he dressed down to stroll through a wholesome Fourth of July parade in Iowa, where the latest polls show the Clinton-Sanders gap has been cut nearly in half.

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The collision between the Obama Administration and the courts continues, even though the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell rejected the attempt to gut Obamacare. Next up: the lawsuit to invalidate the president’s executive action on immigration.

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Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled 11-0 that a ban on federal campaign contributions by individuals who contract with the government is constitutional. After a wave of controversial decisions by Supreme Court that have unleashed a flood of big money into politics, this appeals court decision sends a clear message: Sometimes, more money in politics can be a very bad thing.

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As Bernie Sanders’ crowd sizes and early-state poll standings rapidly rise, a lot of pundits who are seeing the veteran senator in a new light are undoubtedly beginning to ask the question: Who is this guy, really? And the answer the pundits crave cannot be found in his biography or his campaign message, but involves the precedent we can use to understand what he represents. What iconic—or for that matter, completely forgotten—presidential candidate of the past does he most resemble?

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