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Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's abrupt decision Wednesday to retire next month unleashed an intense partisan debate over how to handle the confirmation of his successor, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer insisting it must be done after the midterms.

"Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: Not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year. ... Millions of people are just months away from determining senators who should vote to confirm or reject the President's nominee. And their voices deserve to be heard."
— Schumer said on the Senate floor

The backdrop: Democrats are drawing parallels with Senate Republicans’ 2016 decision to block former President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, from succeeding the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Meanwhile, just moments after Kennedy’s decision, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate "will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall" — before the midterms. The move would give Republicans a leg up, while also creating a difficult political situation for red-state Democrats who may be opposed to a conservative Supreme Court Justice but need support from voters ahead of the November elections.

Go deeper

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Olympics dashboard

🚨: China wins 1st gold of Tokyo Olympics

📺: The Olympic events to watch today

🎾: Athlete spotlight - Naomi Osaka looks to snag gold on home soil

👻: How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

🇺🇸: "What an honor it is to watch you soar," first lady tells U.S. Olympians

🥇: The six new sports at Tokyo 2020

💉 About 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are unvaccinated

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

2 hours ago - Sports

China wins 1st gold of Tokyo Olympics

Silver medalist Anastasiia Galashina of Russia, gold medalist Yang Qian of China and bronze medalist Nina Christen of Switzerland celebrate on the podium after the 10m air rifle women's final. Photo:

China's Yang Qian won the first gold of the Tokyo Olympics, narrowly beating Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee in the women's 10-meter air rifle final.

Why it matters: The first medal ceremony of the Games took on extra meaning after a year-long delay and other hurdles brought on by the pandemic. Athletes are required to hang medals around their own necks in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Journalism's two Americas

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

There's a sharp divide in American journalism between haves and have-nots. While national journalists covering tech and politics on the coasts reap the benefits of booming businesses and book deals, local media organizations, primarily newspapers, continue to shrink.

Why it matters: The disparate fortunes skew what gets covered, elevating big national political stories at the expense of local, community-focused news.