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The gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison in California just before it was dismantled in March. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

A U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C. temporarily blocked Trump administration plans to reinstate the death penalty by halting on Wednesday night the scheduled executions of four federal death row inmates.

Why it matters: Judge Tanya Chutkan writes in her order that Attorney General Bill Barr's plans to resume federal executions after a 16-year lapse comes into conflict with a 1994 federal law that specifies that federal executions should be conducted "in the manner prescribed by the law of the State in which the sentence is imposed."

  • There is a "likelihood of success" in at least one of the legal challenges by the four men scheduled to be executed next month, Chutkan writes in the order, first reported by Politico.
"Plaintiffs have clearly shown that, absent injunctive relief, they will suffer the irreparable harm of being executed under a potentially unlawful procedure before their claims can be fully adjudicated."

Driving the news: In July, Barr asked the acting director of the agency to schedule the executions of 5 death-row inmates convicted of murder under a lethal injection protocol, starting on Dec. 9.

  • NBC News notes the order covers four of those five men; the other, a Native American, had a stay of execution last month as a federal appeals court "could consider his argument that he wasn't allowed to question jurors for potential racial bias."

The big picture: No federal executions have taken place since 2003 — an informal moratorium as the Justice Department "reviewed its lethal injection protocols," per the Washington Post.

Read the order:

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
29 mins ago - Economy & Business

Clash of the central bankers

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Bloomberg, Samuel Corum (Stringer)/Getty Images

While Fed chair Jerome Powell is brushing off the seismic rise in government bond yields and a corresponding decline in stock prices, a group of central bankers in the Pacific are starting to take action.

Driving the news: Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament on Friday the BOJ would not allow yields on government debt to continue rising further above the BOJ's 0% target.

Biden expresses support for Amazon workers' union vote in Alabama

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Biden expressed support for a union vote by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama in a two-minute video posted on Twitter Sunday, though he did not name the tech giant specifically.

Why it matters: A vote by workers at the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union would make the facility the first Amazon warehouse to unionize in the U.S., per NPR. The election will run through March 29.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Miami mayor: Bitcoin's appeal is that governments can't manipulate it

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is pushing to make bitcoin a part of his city's economic future, and in an interview with "Axios on HBO," he pushed back against the economic orthodoxy of people like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who say it's a bad idea.

Why it matters: Miami's inclusion of bitcoin as a way to pay city employees or as part of the city's emergency cash holdings, as Suarez has proposed, would add legitimacy to the cryptocurrency and further entrench it in the U.S. economic system.