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A protestor places his hand on the Polish constitution. Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The European Commission has asked the EU's top court to rule on whether Poland has violated “the principle of judicial independence” in response to a crackdown on the Polish Supreme Court that critics say undermines the country's checks and balances.

The big picture: Poland's government, controlled by the right-wing populist Law and Justice party, implemented a law in April that cut the retirement age for Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65, forcing 27 out of 72 sitting judges to step down. The EU passed a motion last year censuring Poland for undermining Europe's democratic values, though repercussions are unlikely due to Poland's alliance with Hungary and its illiberal government.

Go deeper

3 mins ago - World

Russian authorities say Navalny has been transferred to hospital

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been hospitalized, one day after his doctor warned that the jailed Putin critic "could die at any moment," Russia's prison service said Monday.

Why it matters: News that Navalny's condition had severely deteriorated on the third week of a hunger strike prompted outrage from his supporters and international demands for Russia to provide him with immediate medical treatment.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
14 mins ago - Economy & Business

The state worst hit by the pandemic

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the job facing governments was to save lives and save jobs. Very few states did well on both measures, while New York, almost uniquely, did particularly badly on both.

Why it matters: The jury is still out on whether there was a trade-off between the dual imperatives; a new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies shows no clear correlation between the two.

The U.S. credibility chasm on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The biggest hurdle for President Biden in winning new emissions reduction commitments at this week's White House summit is America's on-again, off-again history of climate change efforts.

Why it matters: The global community is off course to meet the temperature targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. The White House wants the summit Thursday and Friday to begin to change that.