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Will Hurd. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Republican Rep. Will Hurd has been removed from a keynote slot at this year's Black Hat cybersecurity conference, one day after being announced, after critics slammed the cyber-focused lawmaker's GOP-line record on women's issues including STEM funding and abortion.

What they're saying: "We misjudged the separation of technology and politics," wrote the conference in a emailed statement.

Background: Black Hat is one of the major conferences in cybersecurity. It does not appear a speaker has ever been removed under these circumstances at a similar conference in the field.

  • Hurd did, however, speak at Black Hat's sister conference, DEF CON, in the same city in the same week.

What they're saying: "Representative Hurd was honored to be invited and hopes that the Black Hat Conference is a success," said Katie Thompson, Hurd's communications director, via email.

  • "Congressman Hurd has always sought to engage groups of people that don't necessarily agree with all of his votes or opinions. That's why Rep. Hurd is one of the loudest voices for bipartisanship in Congress."
  • She continued: "This Congress alone he voted for equal pay for equal work, for the Violence Against Women Act and the Equality Act."

Go deeper

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.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.

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