Axios Sneak Peek

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May 23, 2024

Welcome back to Sneak. Tonight's edition is 628 words, a 2.5-minute read.

Situational awareness: A deal that would have allowed the president to shut the border when crossings surge was blocked again on the Senate floor, after failing for the first time in February.

  • Two of the three negotiators of the border deal voted against it, with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) accusing Democrats of playing politics with the vote.

1 big thing: Trump's reinforcements

Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump is getting major help for his campaign ahead of closing arguments next week in his historic criminal trial.

  • Why it matters: Gov. Ron DeSantis is helping with big donor fundraising, while former UN ambassador Nikki Haley has moved to mend the primary's deepest rift by saying she'll vote for him over President Biden.

DeSantis spent this morning raising $3 million to support Trump's campaign, AP reports.

  • DeSantis is supporting Right for America, a super PAC that competes with Trump's main super PAC, AP reports. The arrangement will reportedly court donors who want to back Trump but don't want their cash going to his legal bills.
  • "This is where I want you to focus," Trump said in a call to the group today where he blessed the strategy, per AP.

Zoom in: Haley came off the fence last night by calling Biden a "catastrophe" and announcing she'll vote for Trump.

  • Earlier this year, Haley said: "Many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump privately dread him. They know what a disaster he's been and will continue to be for our party. They're just too afraid to say it out loud."

2. Brown v. Board warning

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas on Oct. 7. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas went after the 70-year-old Brown v. Board of Education ruling today, suggesting the court overreached its authority in the landmark decision that banned separating schoolchildren by race.

Why it matters: American public schools are growing more separate and unequal even though the country is more racially and ethnically diverse than ever, according to an Axios review published last week.

  • The 9-0 Brown decision declared the "separate but equal" doctrine unconstitutional and helped usher in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Thomas attacked the Brown decision in a concurrence opinion today that allowed South Carolina to keep using a congressional map that critics say discriminated against Black voters.

Zoom in: The court "took a boundless view of equitable remedies" in the Brown ruling, wrote Thomas, who in 1991 replaced Thurgood Marshall — the first Black Supreme Court Justice and the lead lawyer in the Brown case.

  • Those remedies came through "extravagant uses of judicial power" to end racial segregation in the 1950s and 60s, Thomas wrote.
  • Federal courts have limited power to grant equitable relief, "not the flexible power to invent whatever new remedies may seem useful at the time," he said, justifying his opinion to keep a predominantly white congressional district in South Carolina.

Go deeper.

3. Louisiana cracks down on abortion pills

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

A person in Louisiana caught with the abortion medications mifepristone or misoprostol without a prescription could soon face up to 10 years in prison.

Why it matters: Louisiana, which has one of the country's highest maternal mortality rates, will be the first state to classify the medications as controlled substances.

  • The classification requires providers to take additional steps to track who prescribes and receives the medications.
  • Doctors have said the new rules will further complicate the provision of care and could increase deaths among postpartum women, according to WWNO's Rosemary Westwood.
  • The medications have uses beyond abortion, such as helping prevent ulcers and treating constipation and postpartum haemorrhages.

Vice President Kamala Harris called the bill "unconscionable" on X when it cleared the state House of Representatives earlier this week.

  • "Donald Trump did this," she wrote.

4. Pic du jour: Trump's rally

this is a trump impersonator
Photo: Sophia Cai/Axios

Outside Trump's upcoming rally in South Bronx, New York, an impersonator does his thing.

This newsletter was edited by Arthur MacMillan