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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, leaving room for a second Trump nomination and putting vulnerable Senate Democrats on the spot during the confirmation process, expected to take place this fall.

The big picture: Conservatives have been on a recent winning streak at the court, with Kennedy a frequent tie-breaking vote. This potentially protects those rulings and moves the court further right.

Between the lines... Here are the cases where narrow or tight rulings left the room for a change of mind to significantly affect conservative policy outcomes:

  • Travel ban: 5-4, focusing on the text of the policy itself, rather than Trump’s tweets and public comments. Kennedy wrote of the travel ban that “an anxious world must know that our government remains committed always to the liberties the Constitution seeks to preserve.”
  • Anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers: 5-4, and the court said California went too far in trying to regulate them.
  • Partisan gerrymandering: The court declined to take up a case of Texas partisan gerrymandering, allowing GOP-drawn congressional districts to stand. But the lack of a decision means there can be future cases.
  • Gay wedding cakes: 7-2 ruling that said a baker could refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple. The baker’s case was narrowly decided, and Kennedy explicitly said similar cases could go the other way in the future.

Go deeper: More on the conservative winning streak at the Supreme Court

Go deeper

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies.

The state of play: Biden also raised arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to a White House readout. The statement said Biden and Putin agreed maintain "consistent communication," and that Biden stressed the U.S. would "act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies."

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.