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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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Some of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives are now suggesting they would entertain the idea of temporarily extending federal Obamacare subsidies if the Supreme Court invalidates them.

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), above, told the Hill that he and other members of the House's Freedom Caucus debated the Senate GOP plan to extend the federal subsidies into 2017, when, they hope, there would be a Republican president in the White House to repeal Obamacare.

“I think that I could only support it if it had a definite expiration at the end of 2016, or maybe in the first half of 2017,” Fleming said.

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Hillary Clinton will dive headlong into the voting rights wars with a speech Thursday at historically black Texas Southern University in Houston. In a preview of the speech, the Washington Post is reporting that Clinton will call for new laws guaranteeing at least 20 days of early voting nationwide. The move comes as Team Hillary shows other signs that it intends to make voting rights a priority of her campaign.

“This is, I think, a moment when we should be expanding the franchise,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told the Post. “What we see in state after state is this effort by conservatives to restrict the right to vote.

The choice of a historically black college as the venue for the speech is symbolic, as is Texas, which is the target of the Justice Department's big Voting Rights Act case since the Roberts' Supreme Court gutted the landmark civil rights law in 2013. At issue is the state's 2011 voter ID law which the Justice Department alleges disenfranchises minorities and other Democratic-leaning constituencies.

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Facing a possible Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare that could cost residents millions of dollars in subsidies to buy health insurance, Delaware has put in motion a plan that could protect the state from the effects of such a decision.

Rita Landgraf, Delaware's health and social services director, confirmed to TPM Wednesday that the state has filed a "blueprint" to the federal government to take more responsibility for its Obamacare exchange to blunt the potential effects of a pending Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell.

Currently Delaware's exchange is a state-federal hybrid-run marketplace, but this week Delaware submitted what Landgraf called a "plan for a plan" to move to a federally-supported state-based marketplace.

"I feel moving to a [federally] supported state-based market place is not that heavy of a lift for us," Landgraf said. She emphasized that her department is continuing to do the financial due diligence to determine what the change would cost the state and consumers. She said Delaware will consider the move even if the Supreme Court rules to uphold the subsidies in King v. Burwell.

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Pennsylvania became the first state Tuesday to publicly put in motion a back-up plan to protect its federal health insurance subsidies in the event the Supreme Court dismantles a key part of President Obama’s health care law.

Tuesday evening, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced the state this week had submitted an application to the federal government to take over the state's federal exchange. The move would allow Pennsylvania residents to continue to receive federal subsidies towards purchasing health insurance if subsidies on the federal exchange are invalidated by a ruling in the King v. Burwell case expected later this month.

Pennsylvania would also need the approval of its GOP-led legislature if it wanted to set up its own exchange.

"There is no reason to deal with it right now," Steve Miskin, spokesman for the state’s House Republicans, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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A series of Wisconsin voting restrictions signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker (R) are being challenged in lawsuit spearheaded by a lawyer associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign, MSNBC reported Monday.

The complaint, filed in federal court Friday, alleges, "These measures were intended to burden, abridge, and deny, and have had and will have the effect of burdening, abridging, and denying, the voting rights of Wisconsinites generally and of African-American, Latino, young, and/or Democratic voters in Wisconsin in particular."

Since coming into office after the 2010 elections, Walker and his counterparts in the statehouse have passed a number of new regulations to voting procedures. The challengers in Friday's complaint, which include get out the vote organizations and voters who say their franchise rights have been adversely impacted, suggest that the restrictions are an effort to curb the Wisconsin constituencies who voted for President Obama in droves in 2008 and 2012.

Marc Elias, an election law expert who is also general counsel to the Clinton campaign, filed the Wisconsin lawsuit. He filed a separate challenge last month to voting restrictions passed in Ohio under Republican Gov. John Kasich.

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Edward Blum has been trying to take down “one person, one vote” -- a tenet of modern voting rights law -- since 1997. Last week brought him his biggest breakthrough yet, with the Supreme Court surprising many election law experts by taking up a redistricting case that has the potential to redefine "one person, one vote" and fundamentally alter how electoral districts are drawn nationwide.

The case also fits into Blum’s undeniably successful crusade to dismantle longstanding civil rights laws and remove race as a factor in governmental decision-making.

“That’s the bulk of the reason I pursued this,” Blum told TPM last week after the Supreme Court announced it was taking the case. “The effect that this policy has on race is surely one of the reasons I’ve been interested in it and many others have. But also a question of fairness in our democracy drove the filing of the suit.”

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Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic athlete and reality television star formerly known as Bruce Jenner, introduced herself on the cover of the June issue of Vanity Fair, which debuted online Monday. The cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz, marks the first public appearance of Jenner post-transition after announcing her gender identity in a ABC 20/20 interview that aired April 24.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit struck down an Idaho law banning abortions 20 weeks into pregnancy Friday on the basis that the law unconstitutionally prohibits abortions before the point of fetal viability outside of the womb. It also declared unconstitutional Idaho's requirement that women undergo second trimester abortions in hospitals, calling it "an undue burden" on women seeking abortions.

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Days after anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller submitted an ad depicting the Prophet Muhammad to DC's transit authority, its board opted to ban all "issue" advertisements on metro transit for the rest of the year. The motion to ban political, religious and other issue ads was put forward by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Chairman Mort Downey, according to The Hill, and the Metro board approved it Thursday.

Geller announced Tuesday that her group American Freedom Defense Initiative was launching an ad campaign on DC buses and in train stations bearing the winning cartoon from the group's Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas that became the target of an attempted shooting earlier this month.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), a top 2016 contender, has reiterated his support for a Wisconsin bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy,
with no exceptions for rape or incest.

With 20-week abortion bans gaining momentum on Capitol Hill and in states nationwide, Walker’s office confirmed to the Daily Beast this week that the governor intends to sign the bill, which supporters expect will move quickly through Wisconsin's GOP-controlled legislature. A joint state House and Senate committee hearing on the bill is scheduled next week.

The issue of rape exemptions nearly tanked a federal version of the bill in the U.S House of Representatives, when female Republicans objected to a provision that required assault victims report their rapes to the police if seeking an exemption. A compromise that broadened the exemption passed the House earlier this month. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is also considering a presidential run, has promised to introduce a Senate version of the 20-week ban soon.

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