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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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Now that the legislative battle to stop President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal has failed, conservatives are considering taking the fight to the courtroom.

A federal court ruling Wednesday that found members of Congress had standing to sue the administration over the Affordable Care Act has empowered some Iran deal opponents to suggest lawmakers could also bring a lawsuit against the administration over the Iran deal.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) became the first Republican senator to sign on to Senate Democrats' legislation to restore a piece of the Voting Rights Act, The Nation's Ari Berman noted Thursday.

The bill addresses the Supreme Court's 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, which gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required certain states and localities to get changes to their voting laws pre-approved by the federal government. Called the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, the proposal would bring back those requirement for states and localities that have had certain number of voting rights violations in a given period.

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The House “Tortilla Coast” conservatives have prevailed again.

Rather than move forward with a longstanding plan to vote to disapprove of President Obama’s Iran deal -- an opportunity demanded by congressional Republicans and grudgingly given by the White House -- House GOP leaders have acquiesced to conservatives’ plot to derail a vote on disapproval.

The 11th-hour change in course reflects a last-ditch effort by the conservative wing in the House to show their disgust with a deal they have no practical means of stopping. It came after Democrats had enough votes lined up in the support of the detail to assure that not only would Congress be unable to overturn a presidential veto of a disapproval measure, but that a Senate filibuster would prevent such a measure from ever making it to Obama’s desk in the first place.

The new maneuver is likely to go nowhere in Senate. But in the minds of House conservatives, their new plan sets up a series of votes that are more uncomfortable for Democrats, and make for better GOP political messaging down the road. It also gives the GOP one last chance to voice its collective outrage over the Iran deal, even though that was what the vote of disapproval was supposed to afford them, too.

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A long-awaited, hard-fought criminal justice reform push is coming to Washington this fall, with lawmakers of both parties making progress on legislation to curb mass incarceration. But after spending years convincing lawmakers that tackling the issue of mass incarceration would not make America more dangerous or put their political careers in jeopardy, advocates are now watching with growing dread as the GOP primary veers back toward the usual tough on crime rhetoric.

Just a few months ago, reformers were celebrating that most of the 2016 GOP pack had signaled that, at least in theory, they supported retooling America's justice system. But, as has been the case with so many other sensitive issues, the entrance of Donald Trump has changed the dynamic. Now instead of talking about criminal justice reform, the GOP primary contenders are warning of a supposed nationwide crime spike, touting the mandatory-minimums in "Kate’s Law," and lobbing “soft on crime" accusations.

“I’m concerned about the impact on the push for justice reform because we’re expecting a bill at some point this month,” Jason Pye, director of Justice Reform at the conservative FreedomWorks, told TPM. “I’m concerned about the impact of the rhetoric on that.”

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Updated at 12:11 p.m.: A plan hatched by "Tortilla Coast" House conservatives to delay a Congressional vote disapproving of President Obama's Iran nuclear deal got the endorsement of their ringleader in the Senate, GOP 2016er Ted Cruz (R-TX), who took to the Senate floor to outline it Wednesday.

The plan would require lawmakers to vote on a resolution declaring that the Obama administration had not submitted the entirety of the agreement
-- specifically details of so-called “side deals” between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency -- and thus that the review period ordained by the Corker-Cardin compromise had not been triggered.

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The first Republican primary is months away, but in the race to see which GOP candidate could make the most of the legal battle over a Kentucky clerk's refusal to grant same-sex marriage licenses, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee emerged a winner Tuesday, thanks to the efforts of an aide to block 2016 rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) from joining Huckabee at Davis' side.

Both presidential candidates were present at the rally at the jail holding Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk. But according to a New York Times report of the day's events, a Huckabee aide physically stood in Cruz's path to Davis' side as she and Huckabee appeared in front of the media after her release from jail:

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Timed to a speech given by former Vice President Dick Cheney slamming President Obama's Iran deal, the White House released a video highlighting Cheney's continual defense of the Iraq war.

The two-and-a-half-minute video titled "Former Vice President Dick Cheney: Wrong Then, Wrong Now" -- which was featured prominently on the White House homepage Tuesday -- spares no punches.

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In a speech slamming President Obama's Iran deal -- which Congress is debating this week -- former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that only the threat of military action could prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program.

"As soon as President Obama went on Israeli TV and effectively ruled out the option of force, the Iranians knew that they had won," Cheney said, speaking Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Donald Trump launched his presidential bid with a race-baiting, xenophobic bang, suggesting Mexicans are a bunch of women-raping, drug-carrying criminals. But now that the Summer of Trump is turning into fall, it looks like Trump is trying to turn over a new leaf, promising a “a big fat beautiful open door” in his 1,954-mile-long southwestern border wall, agreeing to eat Mexican food with Geraldo Rivera, and winning the praises of the CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The softening is nuanced and doesn't suggest an earnest effort to make-nice with the still-furious Latino community. Rather it portends a long-term campaign strategy in which Trump tries to have it both ways: blow the dog whistle to rile the nativist extremes of the GOP base but temper his rhetoric to reassure more moderate conservatives who don't see themselves -- or want to be seen -- as racist.

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