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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 19,282,972 — Total deaths: 718,851 — Total recoveries — 11,671,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 4,937,441 — Total deaths: 161,248 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Warren and Clinton to speak on same night of Democratic convention

(Photos: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton both are slated to speak on the Wednesday of the Democratic convention — Aug. 19 — four sources familiar with the planning told Axios.

Why it matters: That's the same night Joe Biden's running mate (to be revealed next week) will address the nation. Clinton and Warren represent two of the most influential wise-women of Democratic politics with the potential to turn out millions of establishment and progressive voters in November.

Trump considering order on pre-existing condition protections, which already exist

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday he will pursue an executive order requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, something that is already law.

Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act already requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is currently arguing in a case before the Supreme Court to strike down that very law — including its pre-existing condition protections.