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A faded photograph is attached to the headstone that marks the gravesite of Emmett Till in Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The family of Emmett Till announced Monday that the Department of Justice has formally closed its second investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

Why it matters: The DOJ reopened the probe in 2018 after the white woman at the center of the case reportedly recanted her allegation that Till, a Black 14-year-old, sexually harassed her prior to his murder.

  • His killing in part galvanized the civil rights movement and highlighted injustices surrounding written and unwritten codes for Black people in the Jim Crow-era South.

Catch up quick: Till crossed paths with Carolyn Bryant Donham, who was then 20, in Mississippi at the grocery store she ran with her husband.

  • Donham testified that Till grabbed and propositioned her that day, while witness accounts said he whistled at her. Within days, Donham's husband and brother-in-law abducted and lynched Till after brutally mutilating his body.
    • An all-white jury cleared the two white men in 1955, though they admitted to killing Till in an interview a year later.
  • The DOJ launched its initial investigation in 2004 but concluded in 2007 that no one could be prosecuted based on existing evidence and the statute of limitations.
  • According to historian Timothy Tyson's 2017 book, Donham told him that trial testimony was false when they spoke in 2008.
  • After facing calls to reopen the case, federal investigators turned to Donham again, but she denied recanting her testimony.

Driving the news: The DOJ closed the probe after finding no verifiable evidence of her alleged recantation, which was not properly recorded or documented. Her family has denied that she walked back her accusation, per ABC News.

  • The announcement came after Till's family met with Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke on Monday.

What they're saying: "I was 16 years old and I remember reading how they demonized him," Wheeler Parker, Till's cousin who witnessed his kidnapping that night, said in the news conference. "And I just couldn't understand how you could treat a person like that."

  • "He did not die in vain," he said. "Many things ... have come about because of his death. Whatever we do, we can't bring him back. We can carry on and let America know we need to know the truth."
  • "Even though we don't feel that we got justice, we still must move forward so that these particular hate crimes will not continue to be done," added Ollie Gordon, another one of Till's cousins.

Go deeper

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.