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.

Articles by

With the Texas attorney general suggesting local officials with religious objections can opt out of granting gay marriage licenses, a state Democratic lawmaker is calling on the Department of Justice to monitor Texas' implementation of the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

"Officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution should not be able to deny Texans' constitution rights with the backing of state legal guidance," state Sen. Rodney Ellis wrote to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday.

Read More →

Over the weekend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested that local clerks with religious objections could opt-out of granting marriage licenses to gay couples in light of the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage. But at least one Texas clerk who opposes gay marriage on religious grounds doesn't see a need for the exemption.

“Personally, same-sex marriage is a contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Denton County Clerk Juli Luke said in a statement Sunday, according to the the Denton Record-Chronicle. “However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family Bible to uphold the law, and as an elected public official, my personal belief cannot prevent me from issuing the licenses as required.”

Read More →

While a case the Supreme Court decided in favor of the death penalty Monday focused on the use of a singular execution drug, Justice Stephen Breyer broke new ground in a dissent joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing that it was “highly likely” that capital punishment as a whole violated the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“[R]ather than try to patch up the death penalty’s legal wounds one at a time, I would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution," Breyer wrote.

Read More →

A special panel called to potentially discipline an African-American Kansas lawmaker for calling her colleagues racist voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint, but not without things getting "wild," according to local news reports.

State Rep. Valdenia Winn, a Democrat from Kansas City, faced possibly being censured or even expelled from the statehouse for what her fellow lawmakers said were inflammatory remarks. In the special hearing called Friday to weigh a possible punishment that the committee could have advanced to the House floor for a vote, the panel instead chose to dismiss the complaint.

Read More →

Leading LGBT groups were planning for all contingencies that could have come out of Friday's Supreme Court gay marriage decision. But just because the high court granted them a win doesn't mean their work is over.

“There we will be a lot of work by a lot of different people to enforce a Supreme Court victory,” Camilla Taylor, Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project Director, told TPM earlier this week before the decision.

Read More →

Before the Supreme Court ruled Friday that marriage was a constitutional right same-sex couples, 15 states were not granting gay couples marriage licenses:











North Dakota


South Dakota



The gay marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee were at stake in the case the Supreme Court decided Friday, Obergefell v. Hodges. The marriage bans in Alabama, Kansas, and Missouri were in flux due to state resistance to previous court rulings against the measures. The marriage bans in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Texas were in effect before the Supreme Court's ruling Friday.

Read More →

Chief Justice John Roberts does not "begrudge" people for celebrating Friday's Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. But, he warned, the decision was also actually a loss for gay rights advocates.

"Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause," Roberts wrote in his dissent. "And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs."

Read More →

Officials in states where same-sex marriage was not legal before Friday's monumental Supreme Court decision should not get in the way of same-sex couples seeking to marry, the top LGBT rights group warned Friday.

The Human Rights Campaign sent letters to the governors and attorneys general of states that were not recognizing gay marriage prior to the Supreme Court's decision, discouraging them from delaying issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples any longer.

Read More →

In his dissent to Friday's monumental Supreme Court ruling, Justice Antonin Scalia accused the five-justice majority of "constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine."

"So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me," Scalia wrote. "Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court."

Read More →

In voting to uphold Obamacare Thursday, the Supreme Court preserved health care insurance for millions of Americans, ended what is likely the last major legal challenge to the core elements of the president's signature legislative achievement, and bitterly disappointed conservatives who saw this case as the last best hope for mortally wounding the sprawling health care reform law.

Adding insult to injury, it was Chief Justice John Roberts who joined with Justice Anthony Kennedy and the four liberal justices in the majority in King v. Burwell. Roberts authored the opinion himself in a case which was tailor-made by conservative legal activists to undermine Obamacare. Their challenge centered on a four-word phrase in the statute that the challengers said invalidated the subsidies offered to consumers in the states where insurance exchanges were operated by the federal government. Had the challengers prevailed, the subsidies for certain consumers in 34 states with federal exchanges would have been invalidated, insurance markets would have been massively disrupted in each of those states, and the Republican-controlled Congress would have tried to use the decision as leverage to force concessions from the President in future negotiations over Obamacare.

Other than that, no big deal.

Here's the rationale Roberts and the majority fashioned for upholding the Obamacare subsidies:

Read More →