Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), on Thursday called out Republican senators who have now said that they would be open to confirming Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after the November election if a Democrat wins the White House.

"It appears to be getting less and less about principle," Franken said on MSNBC. "We've heard now a number of my Republican colleagues say that they would confirm or take up Judge Garland in a lame duck session if Hillary Clinton wins."

"It's gone from -- even under their reasoning -- from 'Let the people decide' ... to 'Let the people decide unless they decide on Hillary Clinton,'" he continued.

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Frank Gaffney, a prominent anti-Muslim activist and former Reagan administration official, will join the Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) campaign's national security advisory team, according to Bloomberg's Eli Lake.

Other members of Gaffney's Center for Security Policy -- Fred Fleitz, Clare Lopez, and Jim Hanson -- will also join Cruz's national security advisory team, according to Bloomberg.

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During an interview on Fox Business on Wednesday, host Neil Cavuto quizzed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on why he opposes consideration of President Obama's Supreme Court nominee when he has supported Merrick Garland in the past.

Throughout the interview, Cavuto called out Hatch for contributing to the politicization of the nomination process.

The Fox Business host began the interview by playing a 1997 clip of Hatch praising Garland when he was nominated to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Cavuto asked, "What changed?"

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After Ben Carson on Monday said that he discussed with Donald Trump a possible role in his administration, Carson on Wednesday said that the two "did not discuss any quid pro quo."

CNN's Erin Burnett asked Carson on Wednesday about his discussions with Trump and what kind of role he would expect in the administration if Trump were elected president.

"First of all, we did not discuss any quid pro quo. There seems to be a great desire by many people to try and make it seem that way," Carson said in response. "But we did agree that we're both extremely interested in saving America -- particularly for the next generations, and that we will continue to work together in the process of doing that."

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Five deputies with the Cumberland County, North Carolina, sheriff's office were disciplined for failing to take action when an attendee at a rally for Donald Trump allegedly punched a black protester last week, the sheriff's office announced on Wednesday.

Three of the deputies were demoted in rank and suspended without pay for five days, and two other deputies were suspended without pay for three days, according to Raleigh television station WRAL. All five deputies who witnessed the punch could face up to a year of probation.

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This post has been updated.

Senate Republicans signaled to President Obama that if he nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, they would consider confirming him during the lame duck session if a Democrat is elected to the White House in November, NPR's Nina Totenberg reported on Wednesday.

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When Merrick Garland was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1997, both Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in speeches on the Senate floor that Garland was a qualified nominee.

Hatch in particular had a lot of praise for Garland.

"I do not believe that there is anything in Mr. Garland’s record to indicate that if confirmed, he could amount to an activist judge or might only be an activist judge. Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee," Hatch said at the time, according to video from C-SPAN. "I know him personally. I know of his integrity. I know of his legal ability. I know of his honesty. I know of his acumen. And he belongs on the court. And I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list."

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Following President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement reiterating that the Senate will not consider Obama's nominee and blasting the President's approach for selecting a new justice.

"Today the President has exercised his constitutional authority. A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests," Grassley said in a written statement. "As Vice President Biden previously said, it’s a political cauldron to avoid."

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Reuters on Wednesday issued a correction to its initial report that President Obama would nominate Judge Sri Srinivasan to the Supreme Court.

Numerous outlets reported on Wednesday that Obama had selected Judge Merrick Garland, citing congressional sources, following a conference call between the President and Senate Democratic leaders.

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