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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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Add Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to the list of conservatives resisting any plan that would temporarily extend Obamacare subsidies if the Supreme Court strikes them down later this month.

The 2016 GOP White House contender told Politico he would fight a Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)-endorsed proposal to extend the subsidies through 2017, when Republicans hope a Republican president would be in office to push a comprehensive alternative to Obamacare.

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Legislation blocked by the North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) allowing public authorities to opt-out of officiating same-sex marriages will become law, after the North Carolina House secured the necessary votes Thursday to override McCrory’s veto. Previously, the Senate had voted to do the same.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 2, will allow magistrates and registers of deeds to decline to participate in any marriage -- not just same-sex ones -- if they object to the marriage on religious grounds. Critics say it will open the door to all sorts of discrimination, not just discrimination of gays and lesbians, given its vague language.

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The number of multiracial babies jumped by ten-fold over the last four decades, according to data in a new report from the Pew Research Center. The findings were derived from Census Bureau data and were contained in the new report released Thursday titled Multiracial in America. In 1970, only 1 percent of children under the age of 1 were multiracial. By 2013, 10 percent were.

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Prosecutors have dropped murder charges against a Georgia woman who took abortion pills in an apparent attempt to terminate her pregnancy, the Washington Post is reporting. Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said the termination was still illegal, but that Georgia law does not apply to the woman herself, 23-year-old Kenlissia Jones of Albany, Georgia.

“Although third parties could be criminally prosecuted for their actions relating to an illegal abortion, as the law currently stands in Georgia, criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted,” Edwards told the Washington Post. “Applicable criminal law and statutes provide explicit immunity from prosecution for a pregnant woman for any unlawful termination of her pregnancy.”

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The 20-week abortion ban is poised to get its biggest moment yet when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) rolls out his own federal version Thursday.

While Graham's bill stands little chance of overcoming an expected Democratic filibuster in the Senate, it shines a light on a measure already on track to be a major 2016 issue and which abortion rights proponents fear looks reasonable enough to voters but is in fact a trojan horse with major legal implications.

While the bans only apply to a relatively small portion of abortions, they are part of a much broader, long-term legal strategy among anti-abortion activists to push the Supreme Court into chipping away at some of the protections established in Roe v. Wade.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has cleared the way for most of a restrictive Texas abortion law -- that among other things requires clinics to meet hospital-like standards and providers to attain special credentials with local hospitals -- to go into effect.

"In plain terms, H.B. 2 and its provisions may be applied throughout

Texas," the appeals court panel said, with the exception of one clinic in McAllen, Texas, where certain provisions had previously been blocked by the Supreme Court. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, all but seven of the clinics in the state stand risk of closing.

The suit, brought by Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of independent providers in the state, was the second federal challenge to Texas' omnibus abortion law, which passed in a special session in 2013 after then-Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered lawmakers' initial attempts to advance it. The law mandates that clinics meet the standards required of ambulatory surgical centers, requires that providers attain special credentials known as "admitting privileges" at local hospitals, bans abortions after 20 weeks and puts restrictions on the use of medication abortion (also known as the abortion pill).

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Republican state lawmakers in Louisiana and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist are in a war of words over the state's terrible budget options, with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), a 2016 White House contender, stuck in the middle.

The state faces an enormous $1.6 billion budget shortfall, a reality Jindal blames on falling oil revenues. However, he is one of a number of GOP governors, many of them considering presidential runs, who have found themselves with budget crises due to their unwillingness to raise tax revenue. Jindal's anti-tax orthodoxy has limited legislators' options for balancing the state's budget and means the state is facing the prospect of drastic cuts in key areas like higher education.

For months now legislators have accused Jindal of kowtowing to Norquist's "no tax pledge," which stipulates that taxes cannot be raised unless they’re offset by spending cuts elsewhere. And this weekend they'd had enough. A group of self-described "conservative" Republican state representatives took their complaints to Norquist himself, asking him to give them some wiggle room on raising taxes and to shoot down some Jindal-backed legislation that they say would set a "dangerous precedent" in how government could mask revenue hikes.

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North Carolina state lawmakers are not letting their governor’s veto of a "religious freedom" bill stop them from trying to push through the controversial proposal, which would let local authorities opt out of officiating same-sex marriages. The North Carolina House will be back in session Monday evening to potentially vote on Senate Bill 2, which Republican Governor Pat McCrory previously vetoed out of constitutional concerns. Last week, the state's Republican-led Senate -- by a 32 to 16 vote -- did its part to override his veto, which requires a three-fifths majority in both chambers.

Like similar legislation in Indiana and Arkansas, the proposal is drawing the condemnation of civil rights groups and the business community for appearing to undermine same-sex marriage, which became legal in the state last fall and could be expanded nationwide pending an upcoming Supreme Court ruling.

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In a closely-watched case that threatened to embroil the Supreme Court in the thorny politics of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, the justices sided with the White House in its policy to resist suggesting Israel has sovereignty over Jerusalem. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion called unconstitutional a 2002 statute that allowed citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as his or her birth country, contra to State Department policy in order to remain neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

"Congress cannot command the President to contradict an earlier recognition determination in the issuance of passports,” Kennedy wrote.

The vote was 6-3, with Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito dissenting in full and Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting in part.

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George Soros, long a supporter of progressive causes, has been financing some of the major legal challenges to state voting restrictions, the New York Times reported Friday. The Hungarian-born billionaire is planning to spend $5 million to fight back at voter suppression efforts, his political adviser Michael Vachon said.

"Clearly, fighting the Republican efforts to limit who can vote and when they can vote will benefit Democrats, and it will benefit whomever runs for president," Vachon told the Times. "But it also primarily benefits democracy with a small 'd.'"

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