Photo: Alex Wong/Newsmakers via Getty Images

The Supreme Court has delivered a potentially crushing blow to public-sector unions, ruling 5-4 today that they cannot collect fees from non-members. The ruling will likely diminish unions’ negotiating power and, with it, their political clout.

Why it matters: The public sector is one of the last bastions of labor’s strength — about 34% of government workers are unionized, compared with just 6.5% of the private sector. But this ruling could shrink those rolls significantly.

The details: The court struck down so-called “agency fees” that unions collect from non-members.

  • Those fees can only be used for collective bargaining, not overtly political activity. The rationale is that everyone in a workplace benefits from union negotiations over things like salary and time off, so everyone should contribute.
  • But critics say that because these unions are bargaining with the government, their bargaining is inherently political. The Supreme Court agreed with that position today.

Between the lines: The writing was on the wall with this one. The court’s conservative majority has been inching closer to striking down agency fees for years.

The impact: Unions say the loss of agency fees will contribute to a “free-rider” problem — workers will still benefit from unions’ negotiations and won’t see a need to join. But without agency fees, unions won’t be able to afford the lawyers and other staff who drive their negotiations, making membership ultimately seem like a worse deal.

Go deeper: Conservatives are on a Supreme Court winning streak

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.