Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Steven Menashi, an appeals court nominee up for a confirmation vote on Thursday, aided in an illegal loan forgiveness effort by the Department of Education, according to a memo obtained by the New York Times.

What we know: Menashi helped craft the plan while serving as acting general counsel under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The effort sought to use private Social Security earnings data to deny debt relief to individuals that had been scammed by for-profit colleges. The strategy was axed by a federal judge who ruled that it violated privacy laws.

  • The plan targeted 30,000 students who had attended the for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges, which misled students and ultimately collapsed. Attendees were left with mounting debt and worthless degrees.
  • After the judge's ruling, DeVos herself was held in contempt of court and hit with a $100,000 fine over the plan's implementation.

What they're saying: Menashi has said throughout his confirmation process that he was involved in "all aspects" of the department's operations, but he has declined to comment on the specifics of individual efforts.

  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), has already said she would oppose Menashi's confirmation, while Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has expressed reservations as well.

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Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta is "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts after making landfall on the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm earlier Wednesday.

Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by Republicans to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

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