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 voted 4-3 to uphold University of Texas-Austin's affirmative action program. The majority opinion released Monday was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissenting opinion as did Justice Samuel Alito. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Thomas joined Alito's dissent.

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Republican leaders are patting themselves on the back for the rollout of what they're portraying as their Obamacare replacement plan. The policy paper, which consists of a broad set of aspirations without any dollar amounts or legislative mechanics, promises to slow the growth of health care costs through caps on government programs and on the tax breaks currently offered on employer-provided health plans. It does not, however, make any guarantees of universal coverage, nor does it provide enough details to assess its impact on the federal deficit or how Republicans plan to pay for what they’re promising. Many of the proposals have been trotted out before and have their own downsides when looked at in a standalone fashion.

Here’s what you need to know about the "new" approach:

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The press secretary for Donald Trump's presidential campaign copied down her dictation of his statement proposing a ban on Muslim immigration to save as a piece of history, according to a Washington Post tick-tock of how the campaign settled on the controversial idea. Trump and his advisers first started discussing the ban after the Paris terrorist attack last November, and had it finalized after the Dec. 2 San Bernardino shooting. Nevertheless, the campaign opted to hold its release until Dec. 7, the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor, for symbolic reasons, the Post said.

The Post talked to one of the advisers behind the idea, Michael Glassner-- then the campaign's political director -- who said he and Trump were influenced by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

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A new report by the Urban Institute analyzing government projections in U.S. health care spending shows that it is growing at even slower rates than what was originally projected with the passage of Affordable Care Act. The study predicts that the U.S. will spend $2.6 trillion less on health care between 2014-2019 than what was initially anticipated when Obamacare was passed in 2010.

“Health care costs have had several years of really historic low spending during the period, so overall, public programs, private spending is all less than we thought it would be,” said Gary Claxton, vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Each year we see spending going up 3 percent, 2 percent, whatever, and not 5 percent, and because that stuff compounds, when it continues to go up more slowly ... it starts to really add up.”

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a searing -- and at times, wrenching -- dissent in a Supreme Court illegal-stop-and-search case in which she accused the conservative majority of giving "officers an array of instruments to probe and examine you."

"When we condone officers’ use of these devices without adequate
cause, we give them reason to target pedestrians in an arbitrary manner," she wrote. "We also risk treating members of our communities as second-class citizens."

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This is it. This week House Republicans will unveil their plan to replace Obamacare.

Except by "plan" they mean be a “broad outline,” and by “replace” they mean without giving any specific dollar amounts that would show how far they'd go to guarantee that Americans don't lose coverage, according to a report last week in The Hill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will roll out the policy paper at a Wednesday event at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank in Washington. It comes as a part of series of general initiatives -- "A Better Way,” as Ryan is calling it -- which the speaker has described as showing voters what Republicans are for, not just what they’re against.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has made clear he doesn't agree with a proposal put forward by Donald Trump -- whom Ryan has endorsed -- to ban Muslim immigration into the United States, but in an interview with the Huffington Post Thursday, Ryan floated taking a President Trump to court if he tried to implement such a ban or some of his other controversial proposals unilaterally.

“I would sue any president that exceeds his or her powers,” Ryan said in a back-and-forth about Trump's claims that he could implement a Muslim ban or build a Mexican border wall without congressional approval.

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The same Republicans who have argued that gay couples should not be allowed to marry, that LGBT Americans don't need federal anti-discrimination protections and that trans people should not use the bathroom that matches their identity are now claiming that they -- not Democrats -- are the party on the LGBT community's side.

Their reasoning? That somehow, in the wake of the Orlando shooting at a gay night club that left 49 people dead, there's now a mutually exclusive choice between supporting Muslims and protecting gay people, and Democrats have chosen the former.

The unlovely premise of that rationale is that all Muslims are terrorists, as one Republican congressman has baldly stated.

"Democrats are in a perplexing position. On the one hand, they’re trying to appeal to the gay community, but, on the other hand, they’re trying to also appeal to the Muslim community, which, if it had its way, would kill every homosexual in the United States of America,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said on a radio show Thursday.

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Republican Rep. Mo Brooks (AL) said Thursday that Democrats "are in a perplexing position" between appealing to the gay community and "to the Muslim community, which, if it had its way, would kill every homosexual in the United States of America.”

Brooks made the remarks, first picked up by BuzzFeed, on the Matt & Aunie show on WAPI radio, where he was asked why "the left refuses to face this fact" that "mainstream Muslim thought" says homosexuality is punishable by death.

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