Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have a message for their Republican counterparts, who are leading the blockade on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee: If you care so much about giving America a voice, give us a hearing on voting rights!

The nine Democrats on the committee sent a letter Friday to its Republicans leaders -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), chair of its subcommittee on the Constitution -- demanding a hearing on voting rights, which the committee has not hosted since the GOP took over the Senate. They pointed to the 2013 Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act and the electoral and legal chaos that has ensued since. But they also used the letter to call out the same Republicans for refusing to grant Obama's nominee Merrick Garland a hearing.

"It is ironic that Senate Republicans would claim to give the American people a voice, but at the same time allow sweeping voting restrictions to be enacted that would silence many of these Americans - a disproportionate number of whom are minorities," the letter said.

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The Supreme Court denied a request Friday to halt Texas’ voter ID law while a lower court hears a case challenging it but, in a silver lining for the law’s opponents, signaled it would reconsider if the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tried to slow roll the case.

The 2011 law, which Texas was only able to implement after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, has been shot down by a district court and a three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit. The state appealed the case to the full 5th Circuit, which agreed last month to hear it “en banc,” meaning by all 15 judges on the circuit court.

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With enormous pressure on Ted Cruz to win the Indiana primary, the Texas senator nabbed the support of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), who said he would be voting for Cruz in next week's primary while adding, "I like and respect all three of the Republican candidates."

In an appearance Friday on Greg Garrison's radio show in Indiana, Pence praised Cruz for his willingness to "stand up for taxpayers," for his "devotion and knowledge" of the Constitution, and for his anti-abortion record. However, his statement of support for Cruz was not the rebuke of Donald Trump that #NeverTrump-ers were likely hoping for.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who previously served as a the first female speaker of the House, laughed off comments made by Donald Trump earlier this week that Hillary Clinton was playing a "woman card."

"I don't know what card he’s playing, what, the joker card?" Pelosi said at her press conference Friday, when asked to weigh in on Trump's remarks. "That doesn't even count in a deck of cards."

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As Ted Cruz's vice presidential pick, Carly Fiorina embraced the role of attack dog and criticized remarks made by John Boehner earlier this week in which former speaker called the Texas senator "Lucifer in the flesh" and a "miserable son of a bitch."

"Well, it is despicable. It's beyond the pale," Fiorinia said, when asked by Hugh Hewitt about the comments on his radio show Friday.

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) acknowledged a flaw in his unyielding stance that the next president should fill the ninth seat on the Supreme Court, saying Thursday on a radio show that it was a "gamble" to wait and see what kind of justice a President Donald Trump would nominate, as reported by the Huffington Post.

Asked on Iowa's “In Depth” whether the current GOP blockade was risky since President Obama's pick Merrick Garland was more moderate than the type of judge Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would likely appoint, Grassley reiterated the Republican line that the hardline position is about letting the voters have a voice.

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NCAA officials in charge of organizing college basketball's annual men's and women's tournament told North Carolina that its cities Greensboro and Charlotte, which are scheduled to host games, must "report how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event," according to a statement released to ESPN Thursday.

The move comes after North Carolina legislators enacted an anti-LGBT law that, among other things, overruled city-level anti-discrimination ordinances and bans transgender people from using the bathrooms matching their identity in government buildings and school.

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After refurbishing the toxic reputations of foreign dictators for decades, remaking Donald Trump for a general election audience will be no problem for political consultant Paul Manafort, Trump's recent major campaign hire. At least, that is the thesis of a new profile of Manafort by Slate contributor Franklin Foer, which extensively details Manafort's unseemly history of propping up Angolan guerrilla leaders, Ukrainian oligarchs and Pakistani intelligence interests.

The profile tracks Manafort's wheeling and dealing from the beginning of his career -- working alongside Roger Stone, a self-acclaimed dirty trickster also now in Trump's orbit -- to his more recent wielding of the political influence of Ukrainian natural gas magnates backed by Vladimir Putin. (Manafort, who Foer describes as preferring to fly under the press radar, did not participate in the profile.)

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