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A short-handed Supreme Court begins its new term on Monday with eight justices rather than the usual nine amid a battle to confirm President Trump's nominee Brett Kavanaugh as he faces sexual assault allegations.

The details: The court — ideologically deadlocked with four conservatives and four liberals — has not yet added any blockbuster cases to its nine-month calendar. But the 43 pending cases do have major ramifications, and a confirmation of Trump’s nominee would solidify a conservative majority and ultimately hand Republicans major wins.

The state of play: The first case up for argument Monday morning is a property rights case about protected habitat for the dusky gopher frog, an endangered amphibian. The case pits environmentalists against property-rights advocates.

  • Other disputes in the docket involve the execution of a convicted murderer who forgot his crime after suffering several strokes and an antitrust case alleging that Apple created a monopoly with its App Store.
  • One challenge would ultimately affect Trump's ability to pardon people like his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted of fraud in federal court in August. The case seeks to determine whether prosecuting someone twice — by a state and a federal court for the same crime — violates the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy. The president cannot pardon state crimes.

What's next: A slew of hot-button disputes are working their way up from lower courts and could very well reach the justices this term, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said recently at a Federalist Society event. These include:

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The Fed transforms itself to direct the economy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve is undergoing an overhaul. Conceived to keep inflation in check and oversee the country's money supply, the central bank is now essentially directing the economy and moving away from worries about rising prices.

What we're hearing: The move to act less quickly and forcefully to tamp down on inflation has been in the works for years, but some economists fear that the Fed is moving too far from its original mandate.

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The college football season is on the brink

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Power 5 commissioners held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the growing concern that fall sports can't be played because of COVID-19.

Driving the news: The Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first FBS league to postpone fall sports and move them to the spring, and there are rumblings that Power 5 conferences are ready to follow suit.

Uber CEO proposes "benefits funds" for gig workers

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called for establishing "benefits funds" for gig workers in a New York Times op-ed out Monday.

Why it matters: Gig workers, who remain independent contractors and not employees, have long pushed companies like Uber for benefits comparable to those received by traditional workers. The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant economic strain has broadened those calls.