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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.

Go deeper

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.