Jun 15, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 508 words, a 2-minute read.

  • 🎧 Fresh new pod: The Axios Pro Rata podcast, hosted by Dan Primack, is now Axios Re:Cap — with 10 minutes unpacking the day’s biggest stories through a business lens. Today's guest is Jalen Rose, ESPN commentator & former NBA player. Listen here.

Situational awareness: The 93rd Academy Awards will be postponed from Feb. 21, 2021, to April 25, 2021. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Supreme surprise

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

America now has a 5th major Supreme Court ruling on LBGTQ rights, this time based on Article VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Why it matters: Before today's ruling, only about half of U.S. states had comprehensive laws that protect people from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Title VII explicitly prohibits discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin," but it did not specifically name sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes.

The 6-3 decision's majority opinion was authored by Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Justices Alito, Thomas and Kavanaugh dissented.)

  • "An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex," Gorsuch wrote.
  • "Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."
  • "Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. ... But the limits of the drafters' imagination supply no reason to ignore the law's demands."
  • Read the opinion.

Between the lines: The four big previous LBGTQ rights cases had majority opinions written by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, the N.Y. Times notes.

  • 1996, Romer v. Evans: "Struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that had banned laws protecting gay men and lesbians."
  • 2003, Lawrence v. Texas: "Struck down laws making gay sex a crime."
  • 2013, United States v. Windsor: "Overturned a ban on federal benefits for married same-sex couples."
  • 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges: "Struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, ruling that the Constitution guarantees a right to such unions."

The bottom line: Millions more Americans will go to bed tonight with legal protections that didn't exist when they woke up.

2. Pic du jour
Photo: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Tayla Myree puts flowers on a shrine at a burned Wendy's in Atlanta, where Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was fatally shot by a white Atlanta police officer.

3. Catch up quick
  1. President Trump's rally on Saturday will require temperature checks and provide face masks and hand sanitizer to each person attending. Go deeper.
  2. New American low: 63% of U.S. adults say they are either "extremely" or "very" proud to be American, the lowest figure since Gallup began tracking the question in 2001. Go deeper.
  3. New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins has joined CNN as a contributor focusing on racial and social justice. He's the first current athlete to join the network in that capacity.
  4. Two top Voice of America staffers resigned from their posts at the State-sponsored international news agency after the confirmation of a Trump political appointee. Go deeper.
  5. Big haul: Joe Biden's presidential campaign and two committees associated with the Democratic Party jointly raised nearly $81 million in May, Politico reports.
4. New this week
"Rough and Rowdy Ways" by Bob Dylan, "Homegrown" by Neil Young and "Bigger Love" by John Legend (from left, Columbia/Reprise/Columbia) via AP

Via AP:

  • “Miss Juneteenth”: A single mother and former beauty queen, once crowned Miss Juneteenth, who wants her teenage daughter to follow in her footsteps. Debuts Friday — Juneteenth — on-demand.
  • “Disclosure”: A survey of trans representation in film and TV. It’s a history wrought with painful caricatures, cruel punchlines and dubious erasure. But it’s also a joyful, celebratory journey that chronicles the increasing presence of trans actors and filmmakers in Hollywood, and the difference they’re making for a larger trans community. Debuts Friday on Netflix.

P.S. This week also features new Bob Dylan, Neil Young and John Legend.

Mike Allen