Jun 26, 2018

Axios PM

1 big thing: McConnell's bet pays off big

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shakes hands with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Screenshot: Twitter

Conservatives are on a winning streak at the Supreme Court, Axios' Sam Baker reports, and they're likely to deal a major blow to public-sector unions tomorrow.

The big picture: In just the past two weeks, the court has sided with anti-abortion advocates, a Christian baker who objects to same-sex marriage and the Trump administration’s travel ban.

  • P.S. It also punted on a Texas partisan gerrymandering case, allowing GOP-drawn congressional districts to stand.

Why it matters: This is why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held the court's vacant seat open for more than a year, so that Trump could fill it with Neil Gorsuch instead of President Obama with Merrick Garland.

Be smart: Some of these conservative victories may not be permanent:

  • The baker’s case was narrowly decided, and Justice Anthony Kennedy explicitly said similar cases could go the other way in the future.
  • Kennedy also fired a warning shot on the travel ban, writing that, although this policy is legal, “an anxious world must know that our government remains committed always to the liberties the Constitution seeks to preserve.”
  • A new crop of partisan gerrymandering cases can eventually return to the high court because it punted.

Who to watch: Kennedy, the court's swing vote, who would likely be replaced by a more staunchly conservative justice should he retire.

Go deeper: Sam's dive into the court ruling on the travel ban

2. What you missed
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Data: Public Religion Research Institute survey conducted June 2015, August 2017 and June 2018; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios
  1. 18 state attorneys general are suing the Trump administration over its family separation policy and calling for the reunification of the migrant families who were affected. Go deeper.
  2. Trump vs. Harley-Davidson: The president escalated his criticisms of the motorcycle manufacturer today after its announcement yesterday that Trump-inspired tariffs were spurring it to move some production overseas for sale in European markets. Go deeper.
  3. Reality Winner pleaded guilty today to illegally disclosing classified information as part of a deal which gives her 63 months in prison— she was the first leak case in the Trump administration.
  4. A London court has granted Uber a 15-month probationary license to operate in the city after the company appealed its transportation agency's decision not to renew its license last year.
  5. The New York Times obtained a draft of the new 1040 income tax form, and, as the Trump administration and Congressional leaders promised, it's smaller — for some. Go deeper.
3. 1 historic thing

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge lays a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum during his official tour of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Photo by Ian Vogler - Pool/Getty Images

Prince William has become the first British Royal to ever officially visit Israel and the Palestinian territories, the BBC reports:

  • "[T]he prince laid a wreath where ashes of victims of the Holocaust were buried... He also met two survivors of the Holocaust."
  • "In a speech at a reception hosted by the British ambassador, Prince William said the visit to Yad Vashem was 'profoundly moving' and said ties between Britain and Israel had 'never been stronger.'"
  • "In the past century, the people of the Middle East have suffered great sadness and loss," he said. "Never has hope and reconciliation been more needed."