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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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An appeals court delivered a major if not expected blow to President Obama's immigration policies Monday.

If there was a silver lining for supporters of Obama's immigration actions, it was that the court decided the case in way that made it more likely that the Supreme Court will ultimately rule in their favor. Legal experts said that was so broad as to change the fundamental role of the judicial branch in intervening in disagreements between states and the federal government.

The administration is also likely breathing a sigh of relief that the decision gives the White House enough of a window -- if just barely -- to appeal the decision in time for Supreme Court decision at the end of the 2015-2016 term, ahead of November's elections.

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Criminal justice advocates have done an impressive job amassing a broad coalition to support initiatives to curb mass incarceration. Their next challenge? Keeping it together as the 2016 race picks up and candidates are tempted to revert to “tough on crime” rhetoric to attack their opponents.

Already, some conservatives are flirting with the old “Willie Horton”-style politics, invoking racially-charged crime fears. While Donald Trump is often blamed for raising the temperature on crime, even lawmakers who previously have aligned themselves with the movement to overhaul the country's prison system have backed off from some of the efforts.

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Ben Carson rose to fame as an acclaimed neurosurgeon with an remarkable backstory. Now defending backstory has become the focus of his presidential campaign, as outlets scrutinize his tales of being a violent youth who rose from poverty to achieve an impressive resume that included a West Point scholarship offer before he attended Yale.

In addition to spinning the questions raised by reporters to attack what he says his media bias, Team Carson has also used his public Facebook page to offer up three pieces of "evidence" to back up the stories now under scrutiny.

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Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton used a question about Wall Street at Friday's MSNBC Democratic Candidates Forum to call the Koch brothers "some of the biggest deck stackers you can find."

"They are protecting their corporate interest, the fossil fuel industry. They're protecting the continuation of pumping carbon into the atmosphere," she said.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called Republicans "political cowards" for their efforts to restrict voting rights and suggested a constitutional amendment might be necessary to protect the franchise.

"Maybe this is personal because I run for office. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win," Sanders said, when Rachel Maddow brought the topic up at Friday's MSNBC Democratic 2016 Forum."It has never occurred to me as a candidate to figure out a way to deny the vote to people because they might vote against me. People who do that are political cowards. They're afraid of a fair election."

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Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley took a swing at Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton, by suggesting her opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline was politically driven.

"Secretary Clinton got there just last week. And I was there a year ago," O'Malley said at the MSNBC Democratic Forum, when Rachel Maddow brought up that all three Democratic candidates opposed the pipeline.

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An Oklahoma woman who has taken a prominent role with the Donald Trump campaign in the state has posted a variety of anti-Muslim, anti-transgender and other wildly offensive content to her public Facebook page.

Among the many "hot takes" on Carol Hefner's Facebook pages: Muslims have infiltrated the Obama administration, Huma Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood through her brother, and Muslims and blacks were responsible for slavery.

The endorsement of Carol Hefner (pictured above) was touted by the Trump campaign in an October press release that called her and her husband "Oklahoma leaders." Hefner has also been described as a campaign coordinator and a co-chair of his state campaign in local accounts of Trump's stops in Oklahoma.

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The nation's top police union is vowing a "surprise" for director Quentin Tarantino, whose latest movie faces a boycott for remarks he made suggesting some cops are murderers.

"Tarantino has made a good living out of violence and surprise," Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Our offices make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question."

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Ben Carson isn't the only pyramid truther out there.

The GOP frontrunner's theory that archaeologists are wrong and that the Egyptian pyramids were really built by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain wasn't created in a vacuum. In the fringier corners of the Internet, variations of the pyramids-as-grain-storage argument has spawned entire blogs and a 30-minute documentary.

Carson -- who is continuing to defend beliefs that were surfaced this week in video of a 1998 commencement address by the acclaimed neurosurgeon -- joins the ranks of pyramids truthers who believe that, warned by God of an oncoming famine, Joseph built grain storage units that exist today in the form of the ancient pyramids.

His theory flies in the face of what has long been settled by modern archeologists: that the pyramids were built as tombs for Egyptian pharaohs.

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the latest GOP presidential candidate to jump on 2016 frontrunner Ben Carson's theory that the pyramids were created by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain.

"I'’m really big into conspiracy theories, so I think they were probably built by the aliens as grain silos, don’t you think," Paul joked, when asked about Carson's idea on 1110AM WBT, as reported by Buzzfeed.

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