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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel has thrown out the first-degree murder conviction of former Blackwater Worldwide security guard Nicholas A. Slatten, and ordered re-sentencings for three others, The Washington Post reports.

  • The four were sentencing in 2015 for the 2007 killings of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
  • The court ruled that the trial court "abused its discretion" in not allowing Slatten to be tried separately from three co-defendants since he alone faced a murder charge. The court has ordered a new trial, per the NYT.
  • The court has also ordered re-sentencing for Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard, ruling their 30-year terms violated constitutional safeguards against "cruel and unusual punishment."

Catch up on the case: Prosecutors said the security guards falsely claimed their convoy was threatened by a car bomber, which led them to fire machine guns and grenade launchers in a reckless way. The guards said they were acting in self-defense. No witness testified that they saw the guards threatened by firings.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear themU.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. World: Italy tightens restrictions Spain declares new state of emergency.

Amy Coney Barrett's immediate impact

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In her first week on the job, Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Where it stands: The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.

Texas Democrats beg Biden to spend now

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The Biden campaign is rebuffing persistent pleas from Texas Democrats to spend at least $10 million in the Lone Star state, several people familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: If Texas — which has 38 electoral votes and is steadily getting more blue, but hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976 — flipped to the Biden column, it would be game over. But the RealClearPolitics polling average stubbornly hovers at +2.6 for Trump — and Team Biden appears more focused on closer targets.