Oct 4, 2019

In the Supreme Court, it's all been building to this

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh on Feb. 5. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

This fall will present the first real test of whether a Supreme Court with two Trump appointees will deliver the change Republicans dreamed of when they stonewalled the nomination of Merrick Garland.

What's new: The Supreme Court agreed to take up a case on Louisiana's abortion law which requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in order to perform an abortion.

  • This is very similar to the Texas law the Supreme Court struck down when Anthony Kennedy was on the bench.

Why it matters: It would be highly unusual for the court to so quickly turn its back on one of its precedents, but that's what the justices would need to do to uphold Louisiana's restrictions, Axios' Sam Baker notes.

  • Brett Kavanaugh, who replaced Kennedy, "has indicated his willingness to undermine or discard the 2016 decision," NPR's Nina Totenberg reports.

Between the lines: This is a deliberate strategy, by red states as well as the conservative legal establishment, to force big abortion cases before the court and provide it the opportunity to roll back abortion rights, per Sam.

  • Alabama's near-total ban on abortion, which is still working its way through legal challenges, is the most aggressive step in that effort.

The bottom line: The decision on this Louisiana case will reexamine what qualifies as an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion, as defined by Planned Parenthood v. Casey of 1992, Axios' Orion Rummler notes.

  • If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Louisiana's law, it could be more difficult to prove in court that state abortion restrictions are unconstitutional.

Go deeper ... Where abortion restrictions stand: The states that have passed laws

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

5 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.