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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More turmoil in the Virgin Island Republican Party erupted Tuesday as the GOP chair there announced the disqualification of six delegates that had been selected to represent the territory at the Republican convention and the elevation of new delegates in their place.

The now-disqualified delegates include GOP strategist John Yob, along with his wife Erica and Lindsey Eilon, who were all already the subject of scrutiny after allegations that Yob had falsified information on his voter application. Virgin Island GOP Chairman John Canegata issued a statement Tuesday saying the Yobs, Eilon and three other delegates had been replaced over a violation of Virgin Islands Republican Party rule which says delegates must within five days of the caucus "confirm in writing, that he or she accepts election” and that they are “willing and able” attend the Republican National Convention.

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Count Wednesday’s hearing on a challenge to the Obamacare contraceptive mandate among the cases where the stakes have been somewhat defused by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. The religious non-profits bringing the case face an uphill battle with their arguments that the accommodation granted to them to opt out of the birth control coverage mandate is still a burden on their religious beliefs.

Even before Scalia’s unexpected passing last February, the case was already considered somewhat of an overreach by the conservative forces pushing the court to take up the challenge. But without Scalia’s fifth vote, the challengers will need to sway the vote of one of the court’s four liberals -- who all signed on to most of Justice Ruth Ginsburg’s scathing dissent defending Obamacare in Hobby Lobby -- or hope for a 4-4 split decision that punts the case until Scalia’s seat is filled.

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President Obama used the beginning of a speech scheduled Tuesday morning during his trip to Cuba to comment on the Brussels attacks that have left at least two dozen people dead.

"The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium. And we stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people," Obama said. "We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible."

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In her initial public response to Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Brussels, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the attacks on a Belgium airport and a metro station were a “terrible horror.” But she also expressed a more measured tone than some of her 2016 rivals.

"This is a time for us to reaffirm our solidarity with our Europeans friends," she said, calling into the Today Show Tuesday morning.

"It's unrealistic to say we're going to completely shut down our borders to everyone,” Clinton said. “But we have to do a much better job in coordination with the Europeans on tracking and following anyone who has any connection with terrorist activity or terrorism."

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A majority of Americans believe President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland should be confirmed, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

The percentage of Americans approving of a Senate vote in his favor is about average for Supreme Court nominees soon after their selection is announced by the President, according to Gallup's review of past polling. But the poll also suggests that Republicans' argument that the next president should choose the successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia hasn't shifted the public opinion at large as to whether Garland should be confirmed.

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Donald Trump will meet with some Republican lawmakers in Washington D.C. Monday at the prominent law firm Jones Day, Politico reported. According to Bloomberg reporter Billy House, among those slated to attend are Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) and Tom Marino (R-PA).

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In a speech to a major conference held by a top U.S.-Israeli group, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implicitly criticized Donald Trump's past positioning on Israel.

"We need steady hands, not a president who says he's neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything's negotiable," Clinton said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C. Monday. "Well, my friends, Israel's security is nonnegotiable. "

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President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to succeed justice Scalia on the Supreme Court was not the nominee progressives were dreaming of a month ago, when Scalia’s unexpected death opened up a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the Supreme Court.

But Garland was almost certainly not who Senate Republicans were expecting when they drew the hard line soon after Scalia’s death that no Obama nominee would be considered. Just last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) -- a member of the Judiciary Committee -- said he didn’t “believe” Obama’s assurances to him that he would nominate a “moderate.”

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The leaders of the conservative legal groups that will lead the charge against the Senate consideration of Merrick Garland downplayed early hints Wednesday that Senate Republicans might be giving ground in their absolute opposition to anyone President Obama would have nominated.

Soon after President Obama's announced that Garland was his Supreme Court nominee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a smattering of Senate Republicans expressed publicly a willingness to meet with him, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) suggested an openness to confirming Garland in a lame duck session after the November election if a Democrat wins the White House.

Did those shifting political dynamics with the nomination of a 63-year-old, well-regarded moderate worry outside conservative groups?

"Senators hold all sorts of meetings with all sorts of people," Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said on a press call Wednesday afternoon. "I don't think that the fact that some senators are willing to meet with Merrick Garland means anything. The key is for the senators to hold the line on no hearing or no floor vote."

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