Florida Governor Rick Scott (R). Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who’s leaving office in January due to term limits, does not have the authority to fill three vacant seats on the state's Supreme Court, the court ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: This raises the stakes in Florida’s highly contested gubernatorial race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, because the winner will decide the ideological balance of the seven-member court for years.

The backstory: Scott’s decision last month to start the process to find replacements for the retiring justices had prompted a lawsuit, per the AP. The justices are slated to retire on Jan. 8, the same day Scott will leave office.

  • Scott, who's challenging Democratic Bill Nelson for his Senate seat, had said he has the authority to fill the vacancies and asked the Judicial Nominating Commission to start accepting applications with a Nov. 10 deadline.
  • The AP notes that the departing justices make up the bulk of the 4-3 liberal majority that has ruled against Scott and the GOP-controlled legislature.

What’s next: After the midterm contest, the court will hear oral arguments to decide whether the nominating commission can certify its nominees.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,514,395 — Total deaths: 535,453 — Total recoveries — 6,223,819Map.
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  3. Public health: Case growth outpacing testing in hotspots
  4. States: Cuomo accuses Trump of "enabling" the coronavirus surge — West Virginia becomes latest state to mandate facial coverings.
  5. Politics: Meadows says Trump "is right" to claim 99% of coronavirus cases are "harmless."

Amy Cooper charged for calling police on Black bird-watcher in Central Park

A white woman who called 911 to accuse a Black man of threatening her life in Central Park in March faces misdemeanor charges for making a false report, the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced Monday.

The big picture: The May 25 incident, which was caught on film, was one of several viral episodes that helped catalyze massive Black Lives Matter protests against the police killings of Black people in the U.S.

McEnany defends Trump's tweet about Bubba Wallace and Confederate flag

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a press briefing Monday that President Trump "was not making a judgment one way or the other" about NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag and that his attack on Bubba Wallace was an attempt to stand up for NASCAR fans who are unfairly painted as racist.

The state of play: McEnany was repeatedly grilled by reporters over the president's inflammatory tweet, in which he demanded that NASCAR's only Black driver apologize after the FBI determined that he was not a target of a hate crime and claimed that ratings had dropped after the sport banned the Confederate flag at its events.