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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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President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to succeed justice Scalia on the Supreme Court was not the nominee progressives were dreaming of a month ago, when Scalia’s unexpected death opened up a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the Supreme Court.

But Garland was almost certainly not who Senate Republicans were expecting when they drew the hard line soon after Scalia’s death that no Obama nominee would be considered. Just last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) -- a member of the Judiciary Committee -- said he didn’t “believe” Obama’s assurances to him that he would nominate a “moderate.”

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The leaders of the conservative legal groups that will lead the charge against the Senate consideration of Merrick Garland downplayed early hints Wednesday that Senate Republicans might be giving ground in their absolute opposition to anyone President Obama would have nominated.

Soon after President Obama's announced that Garland was his Supreme Court nominee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a smattering of Senate Republicans expressed publicly a willingness to meet with him, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) suggested an openness to confirming Garland in a lame duck session after the November election if a Democrat wins the White House.

Did those shifting political dynamics with the nomination of a 63-year-old, well-regarded moderate worry outside conservative groups?

"Senators hold all sorts of meetings with all sorts of people," Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said on a press call Wednesday afternoon. "I don't think that the fact that some senators are willing to meet with Merrick Garland means anything. The key is for the senators to hold the line on no hearing or no floor vote."

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Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

President Obama announced his nomination Wednesday of Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Garland is the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The announcement comes a little more than a month after Scalia died unexpectedly while staying at a resort in Texas in February.

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As concern grows about the repercussions of Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination, a trio of prominent conservative are planning to meet behind closed doors in Washington this Thursday, Politico reported, to discuss the possibility of backing an alternative to Trump. The meeting is schedule two days after Tuesday's winner-take-all GOP primaries in Ohio and Florida, which are being treated as a do-or-die moment for blocking Trump's path to the nomination.

According to the Politico report, those slated to attend include Republican figures with deep ties to the conservative movement: Erik Erickson, a conservative media activist; Bill Wichterman, a President George W. Bush aide; and Bob Fischer, a South Dakota businessman.

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Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas showed some uneasiness with GOP leadership's decision to blockade President Obama's Supreme Court nomination, telling the National Law Journal that the "decision has already been made" to not give the nominee a hearing or even a meeting.

"If the president nominates somebody, I'll consider them by my constitutional responsibilities, but it's my understanding there will be no hearings, there will be no meetings," he said Monday. "So I think the likelihood of [hearings] happening is nil."

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A video accompanying allegations that a top aide to Donald Trump roughed up a reporter is being dissected like the Zapruder film, and on Friday, MSNBC tripped over the most basic description of the video itself.

The video in question appears to show the moments before Michelle Fields, a reporter for Breitbart, was allegedly grabbed and nearly pulled to the ground by Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

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A commercial celebrating the body shapes of plus-sized models was rejected by major networks, the retailer Lane Bryant said, with one network claiming the ad did not "comply with broadcast indecency guidelines."

The Lane Bryant ad was part of the #ThisBody campaign. It features plus-size models -- including Ashley Graham, who made headlines for her appearance in this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- saying empowerment-oriented slogans like, "this body is made for proving them wrong."

At some points the women are fully clothed, in others, they are in lingerie, and in some scenes, they appear to be nude -- but shot in a way that did not defy the typical standards for nudity on television.

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Marco Rubio at Thursday's GOP debate acknowledged that climate change existed, but said it was "because the climate has always been changing."

Moderator Jake Tapper took his cue from Republican Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado -- a Rubio endorser -- who urged Tapper to ask Rubio to pledge to do something about climate change.

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Marco Rubio pushed back on Donald Trump's statement that "Islam hates us" by saying such rhetoric has consequences and jeopardizes Americans' relationships with Muslims abroad.

"I know there's a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says," Rubio said at Thursday's GOP debate. "The problem is presidents can't just say anything they want."

When Trump brushed of Rubio's rebuke of his comment as just about being "politically correct," Rubio protested. "I'm not interested in being politically correct. I'm interested in being correct."

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