The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals added a new question on Wednesday to the high-stakes lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act's survival: Whether Democratic attorneys general or the House of Representatives have the legal standing to defend the ACA in court.

What it means: The court is asking whether it ought to kick out the entire pro-ACA side of the case. Technically Texas (with a group of other red states) is suing the Trump administration, but the Trump administration says it agrees with Texas' position. Blue states and House Democrats stepped in so that somebody would be arguing the pro-ACA position.

The intrigue: If the 5th Circuit does boot Democrats off of this lawsuit, that would likely mean no one can appeal a lower court’s ruling striking down the entire law.

  • As University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley explained on Twitter, it's not necessarily clear how all that would play out.
  • Presumably, the Supreme Court would be disinclined to let a single district court judge have the final say on whether the Affordable Care Act lives or dies. So there would probably be fresh procedural wrangling to revive some kind of appeal.

The bottom line: This could be a bad development for the ACA — or it could end up not mattering much at all, if the court decides Democrats do have standing. But it's definitely not a positive development for the health care law.

What’s next: The 5th Circuit will hear oral arguments July 9.

Go deeper: Suddenly everyone is defending the Affordable Care Act

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Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,814,178 — Total deaths: 707,754— Total recoveries — 11,361,953Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,823,891 — Total deaths: 158,256 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Public health: Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed casesFauci calls U.S. coronavirus testing delays "totally unacceptable."
  4. Business: America's next housing crisis.
  5. States: Virginia launches contact tracing app using specs from Apple and Google.
  6. Cities: L.A. mayor authorizes utilities shut-off at homes hosting large gatherings
  7. Politics: White House, Democrats remain "trillions of dollars apart" on stimulus talks.
29 mins ago - World

Hiroshima mayor warns of rise of nationalism on 75th anniversary

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) at the Memorial Cenotaph in the Peace Memorial Park during the 75th anniversary service for atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima, Japan, on Thursday. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Hiroshima's Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Thursday urged the international community to work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and warned against an increase in "self-centered nationalism," per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: He said at a remembrance service on the atomic bombing of the Japanese city that the 1918 flu pandemic killed millions as countries fighting in World War I were unable to overcome the threat together, per DPR. "A subsequent upsurge in nationalism led to World War II," he added. The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and Nagasaki three days later contributed to the end of World War II, but tens of thousands of people died. At the service, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lamented nuclear weapons' "inhumanity," but he didn't mention Japan's wartime past, WashPost noted.

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LeBron James on Trump NBA protest remarks: "We could care less"

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games because of the action.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

Go deeper: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire Black voters