Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Richard Leon is the U.S. District Court judge last in this space for approving AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, over the objections of U.S. antitrust regulators. Now he's threatening to scuttle another mega-deal that not only received regulatory approval, but which actually closed last week: CVS Health's $69 billion purchase of health insurer Aetna.

Details: Leon last week suggested that the government was treating him as a "rubber stamp," and yesterday again refused to sign off on the deal. Per yesterday's order: "At this stage, I am less convinced of the sufficiency of the government’s negotiated remedy than the government is."

  • He wants both the government and companies to file briefs by next Friday (Dec. 14), arguing why he shouldn't suspend the merger until he approves the agreement reached between those parties (which included a since-completed requirement that Aetna sell its Medicare Part D plan to WellCare).

Yes, Leon could effectively order the egg to be unscrambled, assuming he disagrees with the incoming legal briefs. But it would be extremely complicated, as the companies already have begun integrating — something he recently warned should be slowed down — and his actual ruling might not ultimately come until the middle of next year.

  • A more likely scenario is that Leon would demand a partial unscrambling, such as new divestitures. This also is what would be expected if DOJ wins its longshot appeal in the AT&T-Time Warner case.

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Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,393,591 — Total deaths: 950,344— Total recoveries: 20,679,272Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,722,699 — Total deaths: 198,484 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.