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Joe Biden speaking in Wilmington, Delaware on Nov. 16. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden stressed his opposition to the federal death penalty on Saturday just after the Trump administration scheduled three executions of inmates on death row before his Jan. 20 inauguration.

Why it matters: The Justice Department on Friday directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule three additional executions on top of two it has already scheduled for December.

Context: The Bureau of Prisons put Orlando Hall, 49, to death on Thursday. He was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and burying a Texas teenager alive in 1994.

  • Hall was the eighth inmate to be executed by the federal government this year following a 17-year hiatus. The DOJ has executed more people in 2020 than during the previous half-century, according to AP.
  • The last time the government carried out an execution between a presidential election and the inauguration of the new president was 1889, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center.

What they're saying: “The President-Elect opposes the death penalty, now and in the future, and as president will work to end its use," TJ Ducklo, press secretary for the Biden-Harris campaign, said in a statement on Saturday.

The big picture: Alfred Bourgeois is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 11. He was found guilty of murdering his 2 1/2-year-old daughter in 2004.

  • Cory Johnson's execution is planned for Jan. 14, 2021. He was found guilty of seven counts of capital murder, though his lawyers argue Johnson is intellectually disabled and therefore prohibited from being executed, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  • Dustin Higgs is set to be executed on Jan. 15. He was convicted of ordering the murders of three women 1996. Higgs' attorneys argue he is intellectually disabled and receiving an "arbitrary and inequitable" punishment since the person who prosecutors claim carried out the killings did not receive the death penalty, according to AP.
  • All three are Black men, as was Hall.

Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top Republicans who have acknowledged Biden as president-elect

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Some elected Republicans are breaking ranks with President Trump to acknowledge that President-elect Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The relative sparsity of acknowledgements highlights Trump's lasting power in the GOP, as his campaign moves to file multiple lawsuits alleging voter fraud in key swing states — despite the fact that there have been no credible allegations of any widespread fraud anywhere in the U.S.

Biden transition names first Cabinet nominees

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his nominations for top national security positions in his administration, tapping former secretary of state John Kerry as his climate czar and former deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: Haines, if confirmed, would make history as the first woman to oversee the U.S. intelligence community. Biden also plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to become the first Latino secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.