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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 11,565,541 — Total deaths: 536,658 — Total recoveries — 6,258,697Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 2,922,000 — Total deaths: 130,208 — Total recoveries: 924,148 — Total tested: 36,032,329Map.
  3. Public health: Case growth outpacing testing in hotspots.
  4. States: West Virginia becomes latest state to mandate facial coverings in public.
  5. Politics: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positiveCuomo accuses Trump of "enabling" the coronavirus surge — Sen. Chuck Grassley opts out of attending GOP convention over coronavirus concerns.