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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Given how vocal the Sons of Confederate Veterans have been about the removal of Confederate monuments across the country, it’s not surprising a local chapter based in New Orleans decided to sue the city over a recently passed ordinance to remove four statues. But they're being joined in the suit by a number of preservationist groups -- some of them decades old -- that appear to take a more conventional approach to historical preservation.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose Louisiana Facebook page compared the monument opponents to Islamic State terrorists, is identified as a neo-Confederate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Based in Columbia, Tennessee, it reportedly has a membership of more than 29,000, limited to "male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces."

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Hours after the New Orleans City Council and its mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an ordinance last week to remove four Confederate monuments, a coalition of preservation groups as well the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued to block their removal. The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday in New Orleans, said the monuments' removal violated local law, federal law, the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution, according to the ABA Journal.

"Plaintiffs have a First Amendment right to free expression, free speech and free
association, which they exercise by maintaining and preserving the historic character and nature of the City of New Orleans, including their monuments, and by using the monuments as the location for events commemorating individuals and events critical to the outcome of the Civil War," the challengers -- Monumental Task Committee, Louisiana Landmarks Society, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and the Beauregard Camp No. 130, a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans -- wrote in the suit.

The mayor's office confirmed the city would hold-off on removing the monuments as the case proceeds, NOLA.com reported, and an initial hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 14.

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A question posed at Saturday's 2016 Democratic debate suggested that since Obamacare was passed, health care premiums have skyrocketed. But that premise overlooked the reality that under Obamacare, premiums are actually growing a slower rate -- historically speaking -- and that they were growing at a much faster rate under previous administrations.

"Secretary Clinton, the Department of Health and Human Services says more than 17 million Americans who are not insured now have health coverage because of Obamacare. But for Americans who already had health insurance the cost has gone up 27 percent in the last five years while deductibles are up 67 percent, health care costs are rising faster than many Americans can manage," ABC News' Martha Raddatz said, before asking about how frontrunner Hillary Clinton would fix the law.

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Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley bashed Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton for "shamefully" trying to "hide her cozy relationship with Wall Street big banks by invoking the attacks of 9/11."

The diss came during ABC News Democratic debate Saturday, where the candidates were grilled on their relationship with corporate America. O'Malley was referring to comments made by Clinton during a November debate where she said Wall Street supported her because she helped rebuild lower Manhattan after the attacks on the Twin Towers.

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Throughout the first Democratic primary debate after the San Bernardino attack, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined her vision to defeat the Islamic State that included an international coalition, a no-fly zone and partnerships with the Muslim communities.

"We do have to form a coalition," Clinton said at Saturday's ABC News debate/ "I know how hard that is. I have formed them. I put together a coalition including Arabs with respect to Libya and a coalition to put sanctions onto Iran. And you have to really work hard at it."

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As the battle rages over whether Sen. Ted Cruz has flip-flopped on immigration, key figures involved in the 2013 reform movement -- including a Republican senator -- expressed skepticism of the account Cruz is giving now.

"It's total bullshit," Frank Sharry, the executive director of the immigrant-rights group America's Voice, said of Cruz's current version of events.

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The “Cadillac tax” is not dead yet. But Congress put that key piece of Obamacare's cost controls on life support this week by including a two-year moratorium on its implementation within a larger tax package deal announced Tuesday evening.

The provision wasn’t a major surprise, considering that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle had overwhelming come out against it. But it is a disappointing development to the policy-wonks and economists who continue to defend it and warn against attempts to undermine it without a measure to replace it.

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Ben Carson has been flirting with the theory that there are "no-go zones" in Europe, i.e. neighborhoods so overrun by radicalized Muslims that authorities have abandoned their control of the areas and and non-Muslims won't even travel in them. Carson alluded to the debunked theory while stumping in Las Vegas Wednesday and earlier this week gave a meandering answer when asked point-blank if he believed they existed.

The "no-go zone" theory had already been revived by Donald Trump on the 2016 trail. Bobby Jindal also got in trouble citing no-go zones in a speech that earned the rebuke of the London mayor. The theory initially caught fire when analysts on Fox News speculated about no-go areas, for which the channel has since issued a series of apologies and was even given a slap-on-the-wrist by a British regulator for misleading audiences.

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After Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) told reporters Wednesday morning his staff was looking into whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) revealed classified information during Tuesday's debate, the committee issued a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing it was not investigating Cruz.

"The Committee is not investigating anything said during last night’s Republican Presidential debate,” the one-line statement said, per Foreign Policy's John Hudson.

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After weeks of trading barbs over each other's immigration positions while remaining vague on their own, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) finally had their big, climatic showdown on the so-called "amnesty" question, with Rubio in some respects turning the tables on Cruz.

Going into Tuesday debate, immigration had been a weakness for Rubio among conservative voters and Cruz had been dogging him on the issue from afar on the campaign trail. Ultimately, Rubio didn't have to give up much -- he landed on supporting green cards for undocumented immigrants -- but he was able to put Cruz on the spot for his own waffling on the issue.

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