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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

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.

Young people's next big COVID test

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they'll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won't be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close.

The big picture: "It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine," said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is "a cause for concern," she said.

7 hours ago - World

New Zealand authorities charge 13 parties over deadly volcano eruption

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington. Photo: Mark Tantrum Photography via Getty Images

New Zealand authorities laid safety violation charges Monday against 10 organizations and three individuals over the fatal Whakaari/White Island volcanic disaster last December, per a statement from the agency WorksSafe.

Details: WorksSafe declined to name those charged as they may seek name suppression in court. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said government agencies GNS Science, which monitors volcanic activity, and the National Emergency Management Agency were among those charged over the "horrific tragedy" that killed 22 people.