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.

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Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 18,860,908 — Total deaths: 708,676— Total recoveries — 11,394,821Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 4,834,546 — Total deaths: 158,445 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Fauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery — Teladoc and Livongo merge into virtual care giant.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has tested positive for COVID-19 and plans to quarantine at his home for the next 14 days, his office announced Thursday. He currently has no symptoms.

Why it matters: The 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol. He is the second governor known to have contracted the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

39 mins ago - Science

NOAA warns of potential for "extremely active" Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in Garden City, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters warned Thursday of the potential for an "extremely active" hurricane season in the Atlantic.

The big picture: The agency expects 19 to 25 named storms — with three to six major hurricanes — during the six-month hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30. The average season produces only 12 named storms.