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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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Thursday accused the Supreme Court's conservative Chief Justice John Roberts of being the "tip of the spear in playing politics," arguing the high court "deserves to be swept up into the political process."

Abbott was weighing on the current refusal by Senate Republicans to consider President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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Donald Trump isn't done antagonizing the conservative anti-abortion movement just yet.

The Republican frontrunner suggested Thursday that the GOP platform on abortion should be loosened to permit exceptions for cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother, prompting a major anti-abortion group to accuse Trump of taking a position that "would set back years of hard work in the pro-life movement.”

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An appeals court judge giving a ho-hum speech at a lawyers' conference would not normally be a headline-making affair. But when that judge is an embattled Supreme Court nominee facing an unprecedented Senate blockade and is the subject of major White House PR campaign, such a speech becomes a little more notable.

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Update: This story has been updated to include additional reasoning from some Republicans as to why they plan on skipping the convention.

It's not new that some politicians facing tough re-elections will skip out on national party convention, particularly when associating with the top-of-the-ballot nominee isn't a good look for them.

But the calculus facing GOP lawmakers in the 2016 cycle is particularly ugly. Senators defending seats in purple states might be show up to July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland for a pageant crowning Donald Trump -- who has alienated minorities, women, and many others -- their party leader. Or they might risk getting tangled up for a messy floor battle, in which a candidate perhaps just as toxic ends up wresting away the nomination.

So vulnerable Republicans have come up with some creative ways to explain why they haven't booked their plane tickets to Ohio just yet.

Here are the Republicans thinking about skipping the GOP convention and how they're spinning their reasons:

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The Tennessee state Senate passed legislation Wednesday stripping funding from the office of diversity at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A similar bill was approved by the state House earlier this week. The bill will return to the House one more time to consider Senate amendments before it heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

The Senate legislation was introduced by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, who accused the office of engaging in “foolishness.”

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This week gave Obamacare foes some health care industry lemons to turn into anti-Affordable Care Act lemonade.

News that the UnitedHealth, a major insurer, is cutting back its involvement in Affordable Care Act exchanges isn’t great news for the Obama administration. But it’s not the sky-is-falling, death-spiral fever dream that conservatives are making it out to be.

The challenges UnitedHealth was facing on the exchanges are legitimate, but rather than a canary in the coal mine of Obamacare doom, health care experts tell TPM, the news of UnitedHealth’s exit should be seen as collateral damage from the general chaos of a industry in transition, and that the specifics of its own business model -- including its strategy in the individual markets in particular -- played an important role in its decision.

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Immigrants -- and specifically, Hispanic immigrants -- are among those benefiting the most from Obamacare, a New York Times analysis published Sunday said. The Times' report on the first full year of Affordable Care Act implementation found that low-wage workers also saw their uninsured rates decrease sharply, as did part-time workers and those with only high school degrees.

"The analysis shows how the law lifted some of the most vulnerable citizens," the Times reported.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell turned down an opportunity to comment on his personal beef with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to implicitly criticize Donald Trump and said he is "increasingly optimistic" that there were would be a contested GOP convention in Cleveland.

McConnell did not call out Trump by name, but when asked by WHAS11ABC over the weekend to comment on Cruz's refusal to apologize for calling McConnell a liar, the Kentucky Republican instead pivoted to address claims that the delegate system was somehow rigged.

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If Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is thinking about dismissing a major immigration lawsuit on a technicality, he wasn’t showing it at Monday’s oral arguments.

The case is U.S. v. Texas, a lawsuit Texas and 25 other states brought challenging President Obama’s 2014 executive action that shielded certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.

An ideological 4-4 split would defer to a lower court’s decision halting the action, so the next best hope defenders of the immigration program had was that Roberts -- who in the past has shown skepticism to suits brought by states against the federal government -- would vote with the liberal justices to throw the case out on the basis that Texas didn’t meet the legal qualification known as "standing" to sue in the first place.

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