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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

American Airlines' pilots union pressed Boeing executives to fix the planes' anti-stall software or ground the 737 MAX after the fatal Lion Air crash in November 2018, but corporate leadership refused to listen — reports the New York Times.

Our thought bubble from Axios' Andrew Freedman: It's unusual to have pilots unions ask an aircraft manufacturer to correct a safety feature or possibly ground an aircraft in the first place. For them to be rebuffed on such a request is even more remarkable. This indicates a breakdown in trust between Boeing and the pilots flying its 737 MAX jets after the crash of the Lion Air plane in October and before the Ethiopian Airlines accident in March. Lawmakers and federal investigators are looking into what Boeing told pilots unions about the plane's anti-stall system known as MCAS, which is suspected to have contributed to both crashes.

Details: The meeting between the union and Boeing executives became confrontational as pilots asked Boeing to issue an emergency airworthiness directive, per the New York Times.

  • Boeing vice president Mike Sinnett insisted pilots had sufficient training to be able to handle any issue with the anti-stalling software.
  • The pilots were reportedly frustrated that Boeing didn't notify them about the new software until after the Lion Air crash in Indonesia.
  • American pilot Todd Wissing was disheartened that the MCAS system had not been included in the training manual for the 737 Max. Boeing reportedly said it expected all pilots to know what to do if a plane's tail moved uncontrollably.
  • Sinnett admitted there were design flaws that Boeing was looking into, but they didn't want to "rush" into any solutions.
  • Sinnett also said he was confident in the planes.

Context: The fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft was grounded after deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. Errors in the anti-stall software played a role in both crashes.

Go deeper: What we've learned from the Boeing 737 MAX crashes

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.