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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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) -- the next in line behind Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to lead Democrats in the Senate -- pushed back at Republicans who are using a 2007 speech he gave to justify their plan to block any nominee President Obama puts forward to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Schumer said Republicans are taking his speech out of context and that comparing what Schumer said then to the situation now is "apples to oranges."

"In short, Senator McConnell’s attempt to justify his unprecedented obstruction with my speech is completely misleading and patently false," Schumer said in a post on Medium Tuesday.

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The entire current legal strategy of the conservative legal movement has been stymied by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. His unexpected passing robs conservatives of the 5-4 advantage they had on the Supreme Court at the very moment they were making arguably their most aggressive play yet to cement some their most cherished and longest sought legal gains, in areas like abortion, voting rights, and affirmative action.

While much of the immediate focus after Scalia's death over the weekend was on the long game of who replaces him, and when, the impact is far more immediate and potentially historic. Even if a Republican president ultimately names Scalia's successor, the conservative legal movement will have suffered a dramatic setback by virtue of how many important cases it had queued up for this year that will be thrown into turmoil by a court with only eight justices and the potential for 4-4 tie votes.

With a number of high-stakes cases at or heading towards the Supreme Court, conservative legal advocates face a situation where they are unlikely to get the sweeping decisions they were hoping for, especially in the cases specifically designed to roll back progressive policies. Even any favorable outcomes in some of the test cases they lined up for the high court are now in jeopardy.

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Senate Republicans can claim some precedence for blocking any of President Obama’s nominees to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia until a new president is elected -- if they reach back to the mid-1800s.

The GOP’s insistence -- immediately upon news of Scalia's death -- that the Supreme Court must wait until the next president to gets its ninth seat refilled is not unprecedented, but is nonetheless very rare. In fact, all the unsuccessful Supreme Court nominees of the last century ran into problems because of their own traits, rather than some arbitrary obstruction aimed at the president.

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The GOP's presidential contenders had an opportunity at Saturday’s CBS debate to weigh in on what should happen next after the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The candidates for the most part urged the GOP Senate to block any appointees put forward by President Obama.

Donald Trump perhaps most explicitly acknowledged the partisan dynamics of the coming fight over a potential Supreme Court nomination, when asked if he would put forward a nomination if he was in Obama’s position.

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Almost immediately after the first public confirmation that Justice Antonin Scalia had died, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that the GOP-controlled Senate would block President Obama from nominating Scalia's successor.

"The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," McConnell said in a statement. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

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As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battle over which candidate has the strongest record on civil rights, the Sanders campaign touted his endorsement of Rev. Jesse Jackson for president in 1988, when the self-proclaimed socialist was mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

The campaign blasted out video of a speech Sanders made then, in which he praised Jackson for bringing "together the disenfranchised, the hungry, the poor, the workers who are being thrown out of their decent-paying jobs and the farmers who are being thrown off of their land.”

The campaign release also included a flyer Sanders wrote at the time explaining his support of Jackson.

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Abortion is the latest issue that the Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz campaigns are tussling over, with Rubio's allies attacking Cruz for claims Cruz made about Rubio's record on funding Planned Parenthood.

At a campaign stop in South Carolina Friday, the Texas senator pointed to Rubio's vote for a spending bill that included funding for Planned Parenthood as proof the Florida senator had a weaker record on abortion.

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