Photo: Department of Interior

A federal judge on Friday ordered that William Pendley be removed from his acting role as head of the Bureau of Land Management, saying he served unlawfully in the position for 424 days, per AP.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said the former oil industry attorney acted illegally in the role without Senate confirmation, as required.

  • Earlier this year, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) sued to remove Pendley, arguing he was illegally overseeing the agency.
  • Though Pendley's nomination was withdrawn in early September, he continued to oversee the agency based on an "unusual arrangement" he orchestrated, AP writes.

The big picture: The Trump administration has tried to avoid the the confirmation process for multiple positions, instead filling the seats with temporary appointments.

Go deeper

Sep 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Graham hopes his panel will approve Amy Coney Barrett by late October

Sen. Lindsey Graham during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News Saturday he expects confirmation hearings on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court to start Oct. 12 and for his panel to approve her by Oct. 26.

Why it matters: That would mean the final confirmation vote could take place on the Senate floor before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

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