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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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A top civil rights legal group, citing a likely violation of voting rights, suggested possible legal action against Alabama for its decision to close 31 of its driver's license offices. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund has requested to meet with Alabama state officials in person to express the group's concerns that the DMV closures will make it harder for residents -- particularly African Americans in the state's "Black Belt" -- to obtain the government-issued photo IDs required to vote under Alabama law.

NAACP-LDF President Sherrilyn Ifill sent a letter Friday to Gov. Robert Bentley (R), Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Spencer Collier (R) and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R), in which she suggested a "strong likelihood" that Alabama’s actions violated the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. She said there was a "potential need for immediate legal action" by the group.

"By closing these offices, the State will drastically reduce the number of sites where potential voters can obtain photo ID, creating a substantial and disproportionate burden on Black people’s ability to participate in the political process in Alabama," the letter said.

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The U.S. House member representing Alabama's only majority minority district district has requested that the Department of Justice investigate the closure of 31 driver's licenses offices in the state as a possible violation of her constituents' constitutional right to vote.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) released a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the department to investigate the closures in a state which requires government-issued photo IDs to vote. Eight of the 14 counties in Sewell's district will be without a DMV, the letter said.

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The state of Alabama has been accused of bringing back Jim Crow for closing 31 driver’s licenses offices in the state -- including all the offices in counties where African Americans make up more than 75 percent of the registered voters -- which critics say will further disenfranchise minority voters in a state that requires government-issued photo IDs at the ballot box.

The backlash Alabama is now facing reflects the state’s long history of blocking African Americans access to the polls, from 1965’s Selma protests that ushered in the Voting Rights Act in the first place to the 2013 Supreme Court decision in the Shelby County case that gutted a key provision of it.

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Hillary Clinton slammed the closure of 31 driver's license offices in Alabama -- many in majority-black counties -- as "a blast from the Jim Crow past."

The closures, announced this week, hit majority-black counties especially hard. Under Alabama's new tougher version of its voter ID law, voters must have a photo ID, such as a driver's license, to vote. Every Alabama county with at least 75 percent African American registered voters will lose its DMV office, according to local reports.

"This is only going to make it harder for people to vote," Clinton said in a statement Friday. "It's a blast from the Jim Crow past."

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The Alabama state official in charge of overseeing elections insisted that the closure of 31 driver's license offices -- many in majority black counties -- will not get in the way of residents' ability to vote in a state the requires government-issued photo IDs at the ballot box.

“The closure of 31 DMV offices will not leave citizens without a place to receive the required I.D. card to vote,” said Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill said in a statement Thursday. He pointed to the free state-issued voter ID cards that residents can apply for if they do no have any of the other approved photo IDs.

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Shirley Sherrod has settled her lawsuit over the deeply flawed 2010 Breitbart story that cost Sherrod her job at the USDA over ultimately false allegations that she discriminated against a white farmer, The National Law Journal reported. The suit had been brought against Andrew Breitbart -- who died in 2012 and was represented by his estate -- and Larry O’Connor, head of Breitbart.tv at the time.

Sherrod, O’Connor and Breitbart's estate released a joint statement Thursday announcing the settlement: "In a gesture they hope will inspire others to engage in the difficult but critically important process of bridging racial divides, the parties have agreed to resolve this lawsuit on confidential terms."

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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, was booed by the audience at the Washington Ideas Forum Thursday while defending the GOP's congressional investigations into the Benghazi attack, The Huffington Post reported.

According to The Huffington Post, the audience booed, hissed and yelled "You're lying!" while McMorris Rodgers attempted to deny that the Benghazi committee was politically-motivated. She had been asked by ABC's Jonathan Karl to weigh in on comments made by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in which he boasted that the committee's investigation had taken a toll on Hillary Clinton's poll numbers.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) reiterated his call that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) apologize for comments suggesting a political motivation behind the congressional Benghazi Committee.

"Those statements are just absolutely inappropriate. They should be withdrawn. Mr. McCarthy should apologize. I think it was absolutely wrong," Chaffetz said on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports Thursday. As chairman of of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz led an investigation into the attack, which has also been scrutinized by a select community chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).

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