Oct 4, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 405 words, a 2 minute read.

1 big thing: It's all been building to this

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

This fall will present the first real test of whether a Supreme Court with two Trump appointees will deliver the change Republicans dreamed of when they stonewalled the nomination of Merrick Garland.

  • New today: The Supreme Court agreed to take up a case on Louisiana's abortion law which requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in order to perform an abortion.
  • This is very similar to the Texas law the Supreme Court struck down when Anthony Kennedy was on the bench.

Why it matters: It would be highly unusual for the court to so quickly turn its back on one of its precedents, but that's what the justices would need to do in order to uphold Louisiana's restrictions, Axios' Sam Baker notes.

  • Brett Kavanaugh, who replaced Kennedy, "has indicated his willingness to undermine or discard the 2016 decision," NPR's Nina Totenberg reports.

Between the lines: This is a deliberate strategy, by red states as well as the conservative legal establishment, to force big abortion cases before the court and provide it the opportunity to roll back abortion rights, Sam tells me.

  • Alabama's near-total ban on abortion, which is still working its way through legal challenges, is the most aggressive step in that effort.

The bottom line: The decision on this Louisiana case will reexamine what qualifies as an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion, as defined by Planned Parenthood v. Casey of 1992, Axios' Orion Rummler tells me.

  • If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Louisiana's law, it could be more difficult to prove in court that state abortion restrictions are unconstitutional.
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

One very good boy: Hurricane, a Secret Service dog, was honored today for protecting former President Obama and First Family from an intruder who attempted to gain access to the White House in October 2014.

2. What you missed
  1. The U.S. economy added 136,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate fell even lower, from 3.7% to 3.5%. Go deeper.
  2. Mitt Romney condemned Trump's "brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine." Go deeper.
  3. Elizabeth Warren's campaign said it raised $24.6 million in the third quarter of 2019, putting her just behind Bernie Sanders. Go deeper.
  4. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson told the WSJ that he learned of a possible quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Ukraine's government from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Go deeper.
  5. Microsoft believes an Iranian group tried to hack 241 email accounts of “a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran." Go deeper.
3. 1 📚 thing

This cover image released by Scholastic shows "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," a Hunger Games novel by Suzanne Collins, to be published on May 19. (Scholastic via AP)

"The Hunger Games" prequel — due out May 19 — has a title and a book cover, the AP reports.

  • "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" takes place 64 years before the Hunger Games books, during what Collins describes as the reconstruction period after the war that led to the annual games.
Mike Allen