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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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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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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is threatening to subpoena Treasury Department officials if they continue to refuse to testify before his Senate subcommittee about Obamacare subsidies.

The subpoena threat comes after Treasury declined to make the officials available, citing ongoing litigation on Obamacare subsidies. The case of King v. Burwell is currently pending before the Supreme Court, with a decision expected in June on whether Obamacare subsidies are available through the federal exchanges.

The Internal Revenue Service, which is within the Treasury Department, wrote the rules which interpreted the Affordable Care Act to allow subsidies to be provided to those who obtained health insurance through the federal exchange. That interpretation is at the heart of the dispute in King v. Burwell.

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A 2013 Arkansas law banning abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy has been permanently blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in a decision issued Wednesday.

The three-judge panel affirmed a district court's earlier decision finding the ban unconstitutional and placed a permanent injunction on the law, which was one of the strictest abortion prohibitions in the country.

The Arkansas legislature overrode the veto of then-Gov. Mike Beebe (D) to enact the legislation, which banned abortions on the basis of a fetal heartbeat. It was challenged by two doctors on their own and their patients' behalf.

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