Florida Governor Rick Scott. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the process by which Florida grants or denies former felons the right to vote after completing their sentence violates the U.S. Constitution.

Why it matters: Florida is one of four states to constitutionally prohibit ex-felons from voting, giving only the governor the power to restore their voting rights. The policy affects an estimated 1.5 million convicted felons in a state that bans more people from voting than any other.

What this means: U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker did not immediately restore voting rights to ex-felons. Walker ordered further briefing from both parties on the appropriate remedy. His ruling came without a trial.

  • In his 43-page ruling, Walker took aim at the restoration process he said unfairly relies on the personal support of Gov. Rick Scott. Former felons have to apply for their voting rights to considered. This comes with a waiting period of 5 to 8 years.

The backdrop: This comes more than a week after the state approved a referendum allowing Florida voters to decide in November whether to restore voting rights to some convicted felons. If passed with at least 60% approval, it has the potential to shift the makeup of the country’s largest swing state.

Go deeper: Read the court ruling here; The decades-long fight for Florida's ex-felons to regain voting rights

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Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 12,739,269 — Total deaths: 565,704 — Total recoveries — 7,021,460Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 3,247,782 — Total deaths: 134,815 — Total recoveries: 995,576 — Total tested: 39,553,395Map.
  3. Politics: Trump wears face mask in public for first time.
  4. Public health: Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  5. States: Louisiana governor issues face mask mandate.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.

Biden's doctrine: Erase Trump, re-embrace the world

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto, and Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Foreign policy will look drastically different if Joe Biden defeats President Trump in November, advisers tell Axios — starting with a Day One announcement that the U.S. is re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement and new global coordination of the coronavirus response.

The big picture: If Trump's presidency started the "America First" era of withdrawal from global alliances, Biden's team says his presidency would be the opposite: a re-engagement with the world and an effort to rebuild those alliances — fast.

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.