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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Pope Francis' popularity among American conservatives has plummeted since early 2014, a new Gallup poll finds. The dramatic drop among conservatives mirrors a broader, but-far-less-steep drop in the pope's popularity among all Americans.

The pope's favorability rating among conservatives shrunk from 72 percent in February 2014 to 45 percent now, Gallup found in its poll released Wednesday. Moderates and liberals also cooled somewhat with Francis, but a majority in both groups still view him positively. His favorability among moderates decreased from from 79 to 71 percent, and among liberals from 82 to 68 percent.

Overall, Francis has an favorability rating of 59 percent, down from 76 percent the February 2014 survey. "The pontiff's rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope," Gallup reported.

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Backpage.com is suing the sheriff in Chicago over his successful campaign to urge credit card companies to cut ties with the classified ads company over accusations that its sex ads facilitate human trafficking.

Backpage filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Cook County's Thomas Dart, sheriff of the second largest county in the country, was censoring the company and its customers’ right to free speech by pushing for Visa and Mastercard to end their relationships with Backpage. The two credit card companies announced earlier this summer they would stop processing payments to the company due to the concerns raised by letters Dart sent their CEOs.

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According to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the court's recent decision legalizing same-sex marriage laid the legal groundwork for a libertarian justice to eliminate minimum wage laws, or a socialist justice to say that there is a right to an annual income.

In a taped conversation with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, Alito decried the way he believed the marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, defined the definition of liberty guaranteed by the Constitution's 14th Amendment to be "the freedom to define your understanding of the meaning of life."

"There’s no limit," Alito said, arguing that the Rehnquist court had tried limit such legal definitions of liberty to be "deeply rooted in the traditions of the country."

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The Center for Medical Progress, a group with ties to the anti-abortion movement, released a second video that it says shows that Planned Parenthood affiliates are profiting off providing researchers with fetal tissue from abortions.

The edited video, posted Tuesday morning, appears to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing compensation for providing specimens with two actors posing as tissue buyers. At one point, one of the actors appears to ask the official, whom the group identified as Dr. Mary Gatter, a member of Planned Parenthood's national board who has also overseen affiliates in California, what she expects to be paid for intact tissue specimens.

"Well, why don't you start by telling me what you are used to paying," Gatter appears to say, later adding, "Well, you know in negotiations the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss, right?"

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) may have won a hard fought re-election campaign in 2014, but after an extraordinary series of confrontations with the state lawmakers in both parties, the second-term governor is starting to lose the support of the state's more moderate GOP.

A dispute over LePage's botched attempt to veto dozens of bills earlier this month is only the latest battle between the increasingly combative governor and state legislators, including the Republicans who control the state Senate.

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) ordered a ban on the "sale" of fetal tissue from abortions Monday, The Arizona Republic reported.

Ducey's ban came in response to an anti-abortion video that surfaced last week that purported to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing how abortion clinics profited from providing fetal tissue from abortions to scientific researchers. Planned Parenthood, while acknowledging its affiliates do participate in tissue donation programs, has denied the allegations that fetal tissue is being sold for profit, which is already against the law. Planned Parenthood contends that clinics only charge what is required to offset the cost of providing tissue to researchers.

"The footage released by The Center for Medical Progress regarding the alleged sale and trafficking of aborted fetal tissue and body parts by Planned Parenthood is horrifying and has no place in a civilized society," Ducey said in a statement Monday. "I am calling on the Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of the law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child.”

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A dispute between Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) and state legislators over his veto power will have its day in court later this month, with the state Supreme Court announcing it will be hearing oral arguments on the matter.

Responding to Friday's request from LePage for its opinion, the state Supreme Court opted to fast-track the measure, The Portland Press Herald reported Monday. The court is asking for an initial round of briefs by this Friday, according to an order posted Monday afternoon, and has scheduled oral arguments for July 31.

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The family of a young man who was fatally stabbed in the DC metro on the Fourth of July criticized Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) for using the death of their 24-year-old son to attack liberal policies in a speech Thursday.

"The fact that Gov. Chris Christie would invoke my son’s name in a politically motivated speech just three days after our family laid him to rest shows that he cares little about the grief my family is feeling," the family of Kevin Sutherland said in a statement, according to CTPost.com.

A spokesman for Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) of Connecticut, where Sutherland grew up, said Malloy was "disappointed" that Christie "would choose to politicize" Sutherland's death. Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), for whom Sutherland interned, also slammed the New Jersey governor for the reference.

"To use Kevin’s death to score political points is vile," Hines said in a statement. "Kevin was empathetic, kind, and wanted to create a better America and world by lifting up those around him. The fearmongering and thinly veiled racism evident in Christie’s speech reveal that he knew nothing about Kevin and his family or what they believed in, and he should be ashamed. Although, at this point, I find myself doubting if shame is something he’s capable of."

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Alaska will be the 30th state plus the District of Columbia to participate in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, if Gov. Bill Walker's effort to bypass the resistance of state legislators goes as planned. The governor -- formerly a Republican but now an independent -- announced Thursday that he would be using his executive authority to bring the expansion to his state.

“This is the final option for me,” Walker said in a press conference Thursday, according to the New York Times. “We are not going to step away from this opportunity to help fellow Alaskans, period.”

The expansion will give healthcare access to some 42,000 low-income Alaskans, per a state analysis, and Walker's office said Thursday it will bring $146 million to the state in its first year.

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Wikipedia users took notice of Rep. Steve King (R-IA)'s claim Friday that he was as "Hispanic and Latino" as House and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and the white, Iowan's Wikipedia page was altered to reflect his newfound identity.

Commenting on a quote by Castro criticizing the GOP for alienating hispanics, King tweeted, "What does Julian Castro know? Does he know that I'm as Hispanic and Latino as he?"

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