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

Republicans in North Carolina have unveiled their proposal for new voter ID legislation that lawmakers are expected to pass during the lame-duck sessions. They propose implementing a ballot initiative that North Carolina voters passed this month to enshrine voter ID in the state’s constitution. It resembles the voter ID requirement that was invalidated when a federal appeals court in 2016 struck down an omnibus voter restriction law for being intentionally discriminatory. There are a few tweaks however: IDs issued by state universities will be acceptable under the proposal, and county boards of elections will offer free voter IDs. (That would replace current North Carolina law requiring DMVs to offer free IDs.) The legislature is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal Monday. Democrats will argue that passing the legislation should wait until next year, with the incoming legislature, which will have more Democrats (though they’re still a minority). For now, Republicans have a supermajority in both chambers, meaning they can override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.

Remember when Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, in the days before an election where he was on the ballot for governor, claimed without evidence that Georgia’s Democrats attempted to hack the state’s election systems? And his office said the matter was being referred for criminal investigation? Well, more than two weeks later, the Georgia Democratic Party has not heard from investigators. Meanwhile Kemp narrowly avoided a run-off in his gubernatorial race against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

The Justice Department’s norm-breaking approach to defending the census citizenship question has clearly frustrated a federal judge. An appeals court is not too happy about it either. As I wrote on Tuesday, the Trump administration has made a habit of fast-tracking the typical judicial process to get its most controversial cases in front of the Supreme Court, and the census case is perhaps the best example. After the Supreme Court announced it was hearing arguments in a discovery dispute stemming from the case, the DOJ used the announcement to argued that the post-trial proceedings should wait for that review. It even took its delay request to an appeals courts before the district court had a chance to rule on it. The appeals court called the move “premature.” The district judge ripped the Justice Department for seeming to “cross” the “sanctionable line.” Sure enough, once that ruling was properly appealed to the appeals court, it was denied. We’re waiting to see if the Justice Department will try for the Supreme Court again.

Read More →

As I wrote this morning, the Justice Department has employed some extremely aggressive procedural tactics in its handling of the Census citizenship question lawsuits. Part of that approach has included a somewhat successful effort to get the Supreme Court involved in fights over discovery. Another aspect is the administration’s repeated requests for the trial to be delayed, so that it can wait for the Supreme Court to resolve that dispute, which revolves around a court order that Secretary Wilbur Ross sit for a deposition.

Read More →

Special counsel Robert Mueller said in court filings Monday that the recent leadership shake-up at the Justice Department had not changed anything in the legal fight over his authority.

The ascension of Matthew Whitaker to acting attorney general “neither alters the Special Counsel’s authority to represent the United States nor raises any jurisdictional issue,” the Mueller team said in the filing.

Read More →

Just as a trial in New York over a Census citizenship question was winding down last week, the Supreme Court on Friday announced that it would be hearing oral arguments in February over what evidence lower courts can consider as they weigh the legality of the question. The Supreme Court’s involvement stems from the Justice Department’s efforts to block Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and DOJ official John Gore’s depositions in the case. Meanwhile, NPR noted that the former chief of staff for Gore is now a law clerk for Justice Samuel Alito. Over the weekend, the Justice Department sought to delay Judge Jesse Furman, the district court judge in New York, from continuing his court’s proceedings until after the Supreme Court has its review, and indicated it would be willing to ask for yet another Supreme Court intervention.

Crystal Mason, the Texas woman who was sentenced to 5 years for illegally voting, is appealing her conviction. Her lawyers make a number of arguments as to why the sentence should be overturned, including that prosecutors didn’t show enough evidence that Mason knew she was not an eligible voter when she cast a provisional ballot. Mason says she was unaware that the fact that she was on supervised release for an unrelated crime prohibited her from voting.

Democrats in Florida and Georgia have admitted their Republican opponents will win in high-profile, closely watched races after fights over election administration got national attention. Stacey Abrams, who lost the Georgia governor’s race to Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, says she is launching a new voting rights group that will sue the state seeking fairer elections. In Florida — after the concessions of Sen. Bill Nelson, who lost his Senate seat to Gov. Rick Scott, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum — the controversial Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R), who is in a run-off for her seat against Mike Espy, was caught on camera at a campaign stop suggesting voter suppression was a “great idea.” “And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote,” she said. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult.” Her campaign is now claiming the remark was a joke.

After Democrats captured governor’s mansions across the country earlier this month, GOP legislatures are now pushing lame-duck measures to hamstrung the incoming governors and limit their power. We saw a version of this tactic in North Carolina, after Roy Cooper (D) defeated then-Gov. Pat McCrory (R) in 2016. Now in Wisconsin, GOP lawmakers — stinging from Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s defeat to Democrat Tony Evers — are considering changes to how state boards are made up and are mulling rolling back the expanded latitude they gave Walker in enforcing laws passed by the legislature. They’re looking specifically at refortifying the state’s voter ID law, so Evers can’t make any changes to how its implemented.

Read More →