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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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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), while speaking at a 2016 candidates forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, acknowledged the "the details of what happened in San Bernardino are still unclear," but he was quick to link the shooting that left 14 dead to Islamic terrorism and his criticism of the Obama administration.

"All of us are deeply concerned that this is yet another manifestation of terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism here at home," Cruz said at the forum Thursday. "Coming on the wake of the terror attack in Paris, this horrific murder underscores that we are at a time of war. Whether or not the current administration realizes it or is willing to acknowledge it, our enemies are at war with us."

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Almost everyone in the voting rights community agrees that the unexpected case challenging long-held assumptions about the concept of “one person, one vote” -- which is being heard by the Supreme Court next week -- could have devastating consequences. But a point of contention among experts is what threat a more incremental decision poses to the already crippled Voting Rights Act.

The case is called Evenwel v. Abbott. It is coming out of Texas, where the challengers are contesting the state legislature’s senate redistricting plan. At issue is whether the use of total population to draw districts -- as Texas and other states have near universally done -- is unconstitutional.

The challengers suggest that some other metric -- perhaps one that counts districts by citizens or by eligible voters -- is preferable. They say their votes have been diluted because they live in a district that has a higher percentage of eligible voters compared to district that is roughly the same size in total population, but has a lower rate of voter eligibility -- in part because of the presence of Latino noncitizens.

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Alabama now faces a federal lawsuit over its voter ID law after closing 30 or so driver's licenses offices, many of them in areas with high African-American populations.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is bringing the suit on behalf of Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Alabama NAACP. It was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Alabama.

"The Photo ID Law was conceived and operates as a purposeful device to further racial discrimination, and results in Alabama’s African-American and Latino (or Hispanic) voters having less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate effectively in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice," the complaint says, alleging the law violates the Voting Rights Act as well as the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution.

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In a small-bore procedural move with big-time 2016 implications, the Supreme Court Tuesday kept a major immigration case on track to be potentially decided before the November elections.

The states suing President Obama over his immigration executive actions had asked the court for a 30-day extension on their deadline to file briefs in the case, which the administration appealed to the high court last month. Had the court granted the full 30-day extension, it would have been much less likely the case would have been heard in time for an end-of-the-term decision next year.

Instead, the court gave the states only an additional eight days to file their briefs replying to the administration's petition, according to SCOTUSblog. The move means the case could be heard in the spring -- as the administration had hoped -- with a decision by the summer, ahead of the 2016 election. While the court has yet to accept the case, it is widely anticipated that it will grant review.

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The day after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Democrats' claims that conservatives are anti-contraceptive "made-up nonsense," Hillary Clinton's campaign accused Cruz of engaging in "revisionist history" and argued that Cruz "tries to police women’s health care decisions and deny a war on women."

"Ted Cruz’s colorful comments can’t hide his revisionist history on the sustained Republican effort to restrict access to women's health care," campaign spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said in a statement released Tuesday. The statement pointed to recent GOP efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and to block anti-discrimination measures meant to protect women from being fired for using birth control.

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In the latest front in Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) battle with 2016 rival Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cruz blamed the Florida senator for supporting Hillary Clinton's Libya policy that, in Cruz's words, led to the Benghazi attacks.

“Senator Rubio emphatically supported Hillary Clinton in toppling [Muammar] Qaddafi in Libya. I think that made no sense,” Cruz told Bloomberg Politics Monday, connecting the U.S. military intervention to the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.

“The terrorist attack that occurred in Benghazi was a direct result of that massive foreign policy blunder,” Cruz claimed.

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While political outsiders Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson continue to lead the 2016 GOP field in the polls, attention is beginning to shift to a growing rivalry between two congressional Republicans: Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Rubio and Cruz are both serving their first terms in the U.S. Senate, having been elected with Tea Party support, and each now seeks to differentiate himself from the other. The tensions began when Cruz started taking subtle jabs at Rubio. The Texas senator has described himself as the conservative alternative to the "moderate" Rubio and, unprompted, bashed a sugar subsidy program Rubio supports in the last Republican presidential debate.

Now the two candidates have begun calling each other out by name. Here are three of the areas where the Cruz-Rubio battle lines are being drawn.

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Not only have Alabama's attempts to defund Planned Parenthood Southeast been blocked by the courts, Alabama taxpayers will also have to foot the bill in the more than $51,000 in legal fees for the reproductive health organization, the Montgomery Advertiser reported, under a settlement filed in federal court Monday morning. The agreement still must be approved by a U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Republican Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (pictured above) was one of a number of elected officials who sought to defund Planned Parenthood by cutting off Medicaid funding to clinics after a series of "sting" videos asserted the organization was illegally profiting off the of the sale of aborted fetal tissue. (Planned Parenthood has denied the claim that it is profiting from donation programs, and says reimbursement fees clinics receive for storage and staffing costs are legal.)

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Asked on Morning Joe if he believed Islam was an inherently violent religion, Donald Trump refused to answer the question directly, but said, "There's something nasty coming out of there."

MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann asked Trump, who called onto Morning Joe Monday via telephone, whether Islam was "an inherently peaceful religion ... that’s been perverted by some" or a "an inherently violent religion.”

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