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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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The Supreme Court has only been in session without Justice Antonin Scalia for a week. But already, his death is affecting cases, and particularly decisions not to take certain cases to the Supreme Court without the guarantee of his vote.

Last week, Dow Chemical made headlines by opting for a $835 million settlement in a class action lawsuit rather than risk having the case heard by a Scalia-less Supreme Court. A lower court had already ruled against the company for allegedly conspiring to fix prices for industrial chemicals, and prior to the settlement, Dow had appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for the first time in a decade, asked questions from the bench during oral arguments, according to reporters present at Monday's Supreme Court hearings. His questions pertained to the rights of domestic abuse offenders to have a gun, in a case considering a federal law banning convicted abusers from owning guns.

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Hillary Clinton is projected to score a big victory over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina Saturday, putting her on a two-state winning streak when she was able to capitalize on a diverse electorate.

Clinton’s appeal to black voters was key in the state. Six in 10 Democratic primary voters were African American, according to early exit polls, the Associated Press reported. Despite Sanders' efforts to make inroads in the African-American community, he was unable to truly tighten the race. Exit polls suggested that Clinton won eight in 10 of black voters, according to the AP. After her solid victory in the Latino-rich state of Nevada, Clinton’s success in South Carolina solidifies her argument that she has a support base that is more diverse than Sanders’ and thus a stronger candidate for the general election.

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Missouri state Rep. Robert Ross (R) has announced that he is withdrawing his bill that would have made legislators eligible to practice law in the state. In a statement announcing the withdrawal, Ross defended the legislation as something he introduced to make a point -- though that point wasn't entirely clear from the press release.

The bill, introduced earlier this week to much mockery, said anyone who served two years in the state assembly would qualify to "practice law as an attorney in the state of Missouri" and they would be deemed eligible to serve as Missouri associate or circuit court judges.

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Perhaps the panic in Washington that Donald Trump will become the GOP's 2016 nominee echoed all the way to Texas. Because at Thursday’s CNN/Telemundo debate in Houston, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz took a break from hitting each other to aim some shots at the Republican primary’s frontrunner.

Trump didn’t take these punches lying down. He steamrolled Rubio’s criticisms of his hiring practices by roaring back, "You've hired nobody." And he was quick to remind Cruz that none of his colleagues in the Senate GOP had endorsed him. Many of the night's tussles climaxed with Rubio and Cruz barking at Trump simultaneously, while Trump, in between them, effortlessly batted them both off.

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As it has multiple times on the campaign trail, Donald Trump's explanation of his stance on Planned Parenthood during Thursday's GOP debate suggested he doesn't understand how its federal funding works, and specifically the role of the Hyde Amendment.

"As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I'm pro-life. I'm totally against abortion having to do with Planned Parenthood," Trump said, before praising the health care organization for the services it offers women.

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Marco Rubio attacked Donald Trump on a report that he hired foreign workers over Americans at Thursday's CNN debate, prompting Trump to bark back, "You've hired nobody."

With the candidates picking apart each other's stances on immigration, Rubio pivoted from a question about his involvement in the failed 2013 immigration overhaul bill to criticize Trump's hiring record as a businessman.

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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer played down the effect the absence of a ninth justice will have the court's decisions in a discussion at the Newseum in Washington Thursday. The Supreme Court resumed its work this week after the weekend funeral for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

"We'll miss him, but we'll do our work," Breyer told NBC News's Pete Williams, who was moderating the discussion, according to NBC News. "The cases come along."

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Not enough lawyers in the legislature?

This will fix that!

A Missouri state representative has introduced a bill would automatically make members of the general assembly lawyers -- without law school, bar exams or any of the other training and credentialing that is usually required of attorneys -- after they have been in office for two years. The bill would also make those members eligible to serve as Missouri associate or circuit court judges.

The Missouri Constitution currently requires that circuit judges be lawyers licensed to practice in the state.

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Florida legislators approved of a measure to remove a statue of a Floridian Confederate general from the U.S. Capitol, the Miami New Times reported. The Florida House passed the measure 83 to 32 Wednesday, after the state Senate passed it in a 33-to-7 vote last month.

The measure heads to Republican Gov. Rick Scott's desk for his signature, but had been passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers, the New Times said.

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