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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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The U.S. Senate. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed lawyer Kathryn Kimball Mizelle to a lifetime judgeship on U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in a 49-41 vote.

Why it matters: It's the sixth Trump-appointed district judge the Senate has confirmed since Election Day, breaking with the body's tradition against approving nominees of a lame-duck president.

  • Even after losing the presidential election, Trump and Republicans have continued to reshape the judiciary at a blistering pace with a slew of young, conservative judges.
  • The Senate had only once approved the nominee of a president who lost re-election since 1987, Brookings Institution fellow Russell Wheeler told Bloomberg Law.

The vote comes despite Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) recent letter to Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asking that the body "cease to process judicial nominations" in light of President-elect Biden's victory.

  • "[W]e’re going to run through the tape. We go through the end of the year, and so does the President," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt in October.

The big picture: Democrats have criticized the Washington, D.C.-based lawyer's record, arguing she has never tried a criminal or civil case as lead or co-counsel.

  • The 33-year-old, who has eight years of legal experience, is President Trump's youngest judicial appointment. She would be among the youngest federal judges in the U.S.
  • A substantial majority of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee gave Mizelle a "Not Qualified" rating for the position, citing the "short time she has actually practiced law and her lack of meaningful trial experience."
  • The other side: Republicans have touted Mizelle's resume, which includes a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Go deeper: GOP Senate wins wreak havoc on Biden transition plans

Go deeper

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Young people want checks on Big Tech's power

Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The next generation of college-educated Americans thinks social media companies have too much power and influence on politics and need more government regulation, according to a new survey by Generation Lab for Axios.

Why it matters: The findings follow an election dominated by rampant disinformation about voting fraud on social media; companies' fraught efforts to stifle purveyors of disinformation including former President Trump; and a deadly Jan. 6 insurrection over the election organized largely online.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).

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