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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

A collection of conservative activist groups are launching a well-funded effort today designed to push back against perceived Democratic obstruction of President Trump's judicial nominees, Axios has learned.

What's planned: Judicial Crisis Network is spending $500,000 on a digital ad buy with a campaign-style ad to back the campaign, along with a grassroots push — the agenda includes targeting town halls hosted by Democratic members of Congress — by Tea Party Patriots, Concerned Veterans for America, Susan B. Anthony List, and Concerned Women for America.

Why it matters: Installing conservative-minded judges in federal courts is a movement priority, especially with Republicans struggling to pass legislation through Congress.

Their perspective: From Carrie Severino, the JCN's chief counsel and policy director: "Democrats are abusing Senate rules to delay and obstruct President Trump's extraordinary judicial nominees because they want to keep liberal activist judges in control of our courts. Because of their gridlock, there are now far more judicial vacancies than there were when President Trump took office, and he began with a record number. There are almost 140 open seats on the federal bench waiting to be filled, with many more piling up."

At issue: The biggest point of contention for conservatives is that Democrats are allowing appointments to proceed by their default rules in the Senate, which sucks up valuable floor time by requiring 30 hours of debate for each nominee — even when Democrats ultimately plan to approve the nominee. Republicans did the same thing to Obama nominees in 2013, with Sen. John Cornyn even telling the NYT that the GOP "became pretty good at it."

Worth keeping an eye on: Republicans have experienced the brunt of grassroots backlash over health reform so far in 2017. It'll be interesting to see if the right can similarly harness local support, especially given growing discontent with Trump's tactics amongst the GOP mainstream.

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and six others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 25, 2021 in Paris. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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