Jun 28, 2018

What Trump is thinking: Young judges dominate shortlist

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Republican sources tell us that the most likely Supreme Court picks are all in their late 40s to early 50s, meaning the new justice could serve for decades.

What we're hearing: President Trump and the White House especially like these five — oldest age: 53 — people familiar with administration thinking tell Axios.

  1. Brett Kavanaugh, 53, of Maryland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia — widely respected and very much on Trump’s radar.
  2. Thomas Hardiman, 52, of Pennsylvania, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — good chemistry with Trump and White House Counsel Don McGahn. They respect him and like the way he engaged in the process last time, even though he wasn't picked.
  3. Amy Coney Barrett, 46, of Indiana, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  4. Amul Thapar, 49, of Kentucky, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — on the shortlist largely as a courtesy to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
  5. Raymond Kethledge, 51, of Michigan, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Behind the scenes: Trump doesn’t personally care that much about some of the social issues, such as LGBT rights, energizing the Republican base over the Supreme Court.

  • But Trump knows how much his base cares about the court. He believes that releasing his list of potential court picks during the campaign was a masterstroke, and helped him win.
  • And he sees replacing Kennedy with an unimpeachable conservative as a political victory that he can deliver for his people.

Trump came into the job knowing only a bit about the Court:

  • On the job, Trump has felt the effects of judicial decisions largely through the liberal circuit court challenges to his travel ban. This week’s events — a series of favorable Supreme Court decisions including upholding his travel ban — reinforced in Trump’s mind the crucial importance of the court to his agenda. 
  • History suggests that as Trump ruminates Kennedy’s replacement, he will spend a lot of time talking to the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo (who wrote Trump’s original list of judges.)
  • But Trump will also likely pick the brains of a much wider range of allies, including folks like conservative movement leader Ralph Reed, said a source who saw Trump first-hand during the Neil Gorsuch nomination process.
  • McGahn and the White House lawyers will also play key advisory roles.

P.S. Online bettors favor Brett Kavanaugh, per Reuters:

  • Kavanaugh has a 34% chance; Thomas Hardiman is second at 16%, according to the online market PredictIt.org.

Go deeper: Trump's Supreme Court shortlist is very conservative.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,094,068 — Total deaths: 58,773 — Total recoveries: 225,519Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 273,880 — Total deaths: 7,077 — Total recoveries: 9,521Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: Wisconsin's governor called for a last-minute primary election delay. "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said on the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.

More states issue stay-at-home orders as coronavirus crisis escalates

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health