AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

A federal appeals court has ruled against the FCC's proposed caps on intrastate rates on inmate phone calls, arguing that the federal agency overstepped its bounds.

This is a market dominated by private equity-backed companies, which have argued that the often-outrageous fees they charge ($8.20 for the first minute, in one case) are caused by the commissions they are required to pay many local and state governments to get the contracts in the first place (even though the companies partnered with those same government entities on their lawsuit).

What to know: In the exceptional cases where local or state governments have either capped intrastate rates or banned contract commissions, private companies have still bid on new prison phone contracts.

Rising values: One of the market's two largest players is Securus Technologies, which current owner ABRY Partners purchased for $640 million four years ago. The company complains about how intrastate caps would damage its bottom line but, while the case remained active, ABRY tentatively agreed to sell Securus for $1.5 billion (including debt) to another private equity firm.

Bottom line: Profits for private equity, price-gouging for the kid who wants 15 minutes on the phone with her incarcerated parent.

Go deeper

Media prepares to fact check debates in real time

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

From live blogs to video chyrons and tweets, media companies are introducing new ways to fact check the presidential debates in real time this year.

Between the lines: The debates themselves are likely to leave less room for live fact-checking from moderators than a traditional news interview would.

Life after Roe v. Wade

The future seems clear to both parties: The Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in the next few years, either gradually or in one fell swoop, and the abortion wars will move to a state-by-state battle over freedom and restrictions. 

What's new: Two of the leading activists on opposite sides of the abortion debate outlined for “Axios on HBO” the next frontiers in a post-Roe v. Wade world as the balance on the Supreme Court prepares to shift.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
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Jerome Powell, Trump's re-election MVP

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Getty Images photos: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP and Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket

President Trump trails Joe Biden in most polls, has generally lower approval ratings and is behind in trust on most issues. Yet polls consistently give him an edge on the economy, which remains a top priority among voters.

Why it matters: If Trump wins re-election, it will largely be because Americans see him as the force rallying a still-strong U.S. economy, a narrative girded by skyrocketing stock prices and consistently climbing U.S. home values — but the man behind booming U.S. asset prices is really Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.