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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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Moderate GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK), one of the few Republicans initially willing to break ranks on whether President Obama's nominee to succeed Antonin Scalia should be considered, reversed course Thursday evening. In a series of Tweets she said "the American people will be weighing in on the direction of SCOTUS" in the upcoming election and that Obama should "allow his successor to select the next Supreme Court justice."

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Senate GOP leadership's insistence that it will not consider a Supreme Court nominee until the next president takes office is "very different" than her vote against President George W. Bush's Supreme Court nominees when she was in the Senate.

"I did oppose Justice Alito and as you say Chief Justice Roberts," Clinton said, adding that after "after meeting with them, listening to them," she did not think their approach "would be the best for the country."

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Asked how he would address Islamophobia as president, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at Thursday's MSNBC town hall pivoted from criticism of Donald Trump's general rhetoric on Muslims to the "obstructionism and hatred" faced by President Obama and "the idea of making him a delegitimate president."

"People can agree with Barack Obama, you can disagree with Barack Obama," Sanders said. "Anybody who doesn't understand that the kind of obstructionism and hatred thrown at this man, the idea of making him a delegitimate president by suggesting he was not born in America because his dad came from Kenya."

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Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) defended his support of the position that Senate should wait for a new president to confirm a Supreme Court nominee by arguing that "it's not that big a deal" to have a vacant seat on the court until 2017. Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are suggesting they will not consider President Obama's nominee to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly over the weekend, regardless of who it is.

Toomey told the AP that holding a confirmation hearing "might mislead the American people into thinking that this is just about the qualifications of the candidate, because it's bigger than that."

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Civil rights groups challenging Alabama's 2011 photo voter ID law -- which received additional scrutiny after the state closed dozens of its DMV offices last year -- suffered a setback when a federal judge Wednesday refused to block a provision of the law ahead of March's primary election.

The Alabama NAACP and other groups, as part of a larger suit challenging the law, had asked the federal court for an emergency injunction to block the the law on the basis of its "positively identify" provision. That portion of the law provides that if a potential voter doesn't have the proper photo ID, two poll officials can personally confirm their identity in an affidavit. The challengers argued that the provision harkened back to Jim Crow-era voucher tests. They were seeking a ruling that those without the photo ID to be allowed to answer questions confirming their identity or use the IDs accepted before the 2011 law instead.

In his order filed, U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler -- a President George W. Bush-appointee -- suggested the request was "a backdoor method of invalidating" the law.

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A progressive group is invoking the classic television show "The West Wing" via its star Martin Sheen to pressure GOP senators who face tough re-elections to hold hearings on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

A robocall campaign by the liberal People For The American Way will get underway in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and target Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), respectively, who are both up for re-election. People For The American way provided the TPM with the robocall in advance of the public announcement.

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The list of legal troubles Kansas faces in implementing its voter proof-of-citizenship requirement has grown longer. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a new lawsuit challenging the policy, as well as the state's plans to purge 30,000 people from the state's voter rolls because they did not submit a proof of citizenship in the 90-day period mandated by the state.

The lawsuit, Fish v. Kobach, was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. It is being brought by Kansas residents who say they have been disenfranchised by the requirement. The complaint alleges the requirement that Kansans show proof of citizenship when they register to vote at a driver's license office violates the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the "Motor Voter" law. It also says the move to block the voters who already registered for not showing a proof of citizenship violates a section of the NVRA that outlines when a voter can be removed from a state's voter registration roll.

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A conservative judicial advocacy group is making good on its promise to keep the pressure on Republican senators to block any nominee put forward by President Obama. It announced Thursday an ad campaign to urge senators to delay the confirmation process until the inauguration of a new president.

The Judicial Crisis Network -- which was active in the confirmation push for Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts -- is launching "a seven figure" ad buy, according to a press release, in a radio, TV and digital campaign called "Let the People Decide."

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If any Republican senator is thinking about defecting from the GOP’s tough line on blocking a Supreme Court nomination until next year, then let them be warned. Outside conservative groups are preparing to go to war over who should get to pick a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly over the weekend, and they don’t want to see even a hearing considering the nominee President Obama has vowed to put forward.

“The strategy that makes the most sense is to say that there should not be any consideration of this nominee,” Curt Levey, executive director of the FreedomWorks Foundation, said in an interview with TPM. "It would be irrelevant to have a hearing because it’s the situation: the fact that it’s an election year, the fact that his policies are before the court, the fact that the court is so finely balanced at the moment.”

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) --- Republicans' most senior senator and the chamber's president pro tem -- said he believed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is eligible to be president, but that the Supreme Court "in this raucous day and age" might disagree.

"Well, I admit, that issue hasn't been decided by the Supreme Court," Hatch said on CNN Wednesday, when asked about Donald Trump's threats to sue Cruz over whether his birth in Canada disqualified him for the presidency.

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