In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) did not want to be a defendant in a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. His lawyers filed a motion in May asking that the litigation be dismissed because Pence was not the proper defendant. They argued that he did not have "any authority to enforce, or other role respecting" the ban.

It might seem a little odd, considering Pence has partly built his career on a platform of social conservatism. But maybe the continued 2016 speculation, and the prospect of a national campaign, caught up with him. Pence has become regarded as one of the possible dark horses as the GOP's presidential bench still lacks a proper frontrunner.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) also asked to be dropped from gay-marriage litigation, but didn't argue that he didn't have the authority to enforce the ban as Pence did. He might have gotten the idea from former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who successfully made the same argument before he left office. Advocates who follow same-sex marriage ban challenges couldn't name any other governors who petitioned to have his or her name removed from a lawsuit, underscoring how unusual of a move it was. Lawsuits have been filed in almost every state.

And now Pence has been called out, in a way, for his waffling. A federal judge said last week that Pence's argument had been "a bold misrepresentation" of his role and that he was in fact the proper defendant for the lawsuit.

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Earlier this year, the Supreme Court gave its blessing to local governments that want to open their public meetings with religious prayer.

It was a victory for the town board of Greece, N.Y., which stressed that it was fighting not just for Christian prayer but for the right of all people express their views regardless of their faith. In a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines, the Court ruled against the Jewish and atheist plaintiffs, who argued that the practice violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

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New York Times Magazine boldly wondered this month if the "Libertarian Moment" had finally arrived. They splashed their cover with an image of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), widely seen as the man precipitating that moment and the most talked-about 2016 presidential candidate outside of Hillary Clinton.

But what if there is no movement for the moment? Who are the libertarians, really? That was the question posed by the Pew Research Center in a Monday blog post. And their findings could create some skepticism about whether there actually is any libertarian movement to speak of.

"There are still many Americans who do not have a clear sense of what 'libertarian' means," Pew's Jocelyn Kiley wrote, "and our surveys find that, on many issues, the views among people who call themselves libertarian do not differ much from those of the overall public."

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Updated: August 25, 2014, 3:57 PM

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R), now running for Senate in New Hampshire, over the weekend was pretty clear: science has not proven that climate change is real. But back in 2012, when Brown was running for re-election in Massachusetts, he said that he "absolutely" believed climate change is real and that it is a result of both man-made and natural causes.

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If President Obama can giveth, a future president can taketh away.

In its ongoing tug-of-war with religious conservatives, the Obama administration rolled out a new rule on Friday to ensure cost-free access to birth control for women who lose it due to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling. The new rule requires insurance companies to pay for the full cost of contraceptives that an employer legally opts out of covering.

But even before the battles began, the original rule requiring coverage of 20 types of contraceptives, under Obamacare, was made on an administrative level, at the discretion of the president. That means a future president could reverse it by overcoming modest hurdles, should he or she choose to, legal experts say.

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Mark Begich has promised Alaska voters that he will be a thorn in President Barack Obama's side. He has feuded publicly with, even talked down to, a top Democratic senator. He has run television ads emphasizing his relationship with Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

But despite all those things, Sen. Mark Begich is still a Democrat. So his might be the most unconventional campaign of the 2014 cycle, putting an Alaska-size distance between himself and Washington, D.C. And the party appears content to let him. Begich's race is one of a handful that will determine who holds the Senate next year. With the odds-makers giving Republicans the edge for now, it could be the Democrat on the last frontier who upends their well-laid plans and saves Obama from facing an antagonistic Congress for the last two years of his presidency.

This is the message he's taking to voters to make it happen, though.

“I’ll be a thorn in his ass," Begich told the Washington Post last month. “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”

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