Here Are the Biggest Stories in American Politics This Week

From Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s decision to retire from the Supreme Court to upsets in midterm primaries, it was a busy week in American politics. Here are some of the highlights from the headlines this week.

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said he will retire this summer.CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced Wednesday that he would retire from the Supreme Court at the end of July, giving President Trump the opportunity to cement the conservative tone of the United States’ highest court.

Over his 30-year tenure, Justice Kennedy was often a crucial deciding vote in some of the court’s most divisive decisions on gay rights, abortion rights and campaign finance. His departure raised concerns for Democrats and liberal activists that those verdicts could be overturned.

A political fight began to brew in Washington between conservatives determined to confirm a nominee quickly and activists vowing to fight to preserve the court’s liberal precedents.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, promised a Senate vote on a nominee by the fall. With only one Republican vote needed to derail a nomination, Democrats are hoping they might sway Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska or Susan Collins of Maine, who are among the most moderate Republicans in the Senate.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a stunning upset in a primary in New York.

If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeats her Republican opponent in November, she, at 28, would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.CreditAnnie Tritt for The New York Times

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old political newcomer, defeated Representative Joseph Crowley, the fourth-ranking House Democrat, in a New York primary on Tuesday.

Mr. Crowley’s defeat reverberated through the Democratic caucus in Congress, as lawmakers grappled with the loss of a likely candidate for speaker and the prospect of new leadership for the party.

In other midterm primaries held Tuesday, it was apparent that liberal activists had defeated the establishment while Republican voters stuck with candidates endorsed by Mr. Trump — a break from the pattern of the past few years.

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  • Crowley’s Loss Heralds an ‘End of an Era’: Last of the Party Bosses

The Supreme Court upheld Mr. Trump’s travel ban.

Protesters gathered Tuesday in front of the Supreme Court after the court’s decision on the travel ban.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

The Supreme Court upheld Mr. Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, ruling on Tuesday that the president’s power to secure the country’s borders was not undermined by his inflammatory messaging about the dangers Muslims pose to the United States.

The court’s conservatives formed the majority in the 5-to-4 ruling. Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered a blistering dissent from the bench, condemning the ban as “harrowing” and “motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.”

The court, again voting 5 to 4 with the more conservative judges in the majority, dealt a sharp blow to labor unions on Wednesday by ruling that government workers who do not join labor unions may not be required to help pay for collective bargaining.

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A federal judge temporarily stopped the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday in Washington. He reiterated Tuesday that he wants migrant families to be kept together.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

A federal judge in California temporarily stopped the Trump administration from separating children from their families at the border by issuing a nationwide injunction Tuesday night. He also ordered that the administration reunite all families already separated at the border.

Trump administration officials said on Wednesday that it would be difficult to adhere to the timetable established by the judge, arguing that before releasing children to parents or other relatives, the government must “vet them.”

Border officials said earlier in the week that they had temporarily stopped handing over migrant adults who cross the Mexican border into the United States with children for prosecution.

The House also overwhelmingly rejected a far-reaching immigration overhaul on Wednesday, despite Mr. Trump’s late endorsement for the legislation’s passage.

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House Republicans confronted Rod Rosenstein and voted to obtain sensitive documents.

Rod J. Rosenstein, right, the deputy attorney general, and Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, defended the Russia investigation before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, publicly faced off on Thursday with House Republicans in an ugly televised fight as lawmakers accused him and Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, of hiding information from Congress to protect their own interests.

The House also voted to give the Justice Department seven days to produce sensitive documents related to the Russia inquiry and to the F.B.I.’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Some Republicans accused Mr. Rosenstein of misconduct related to the investigation into Russian election interference.

The two leaders, both appointed by Mr. Trump, defended the special counsel investigation and their response to congressional investigators.

In the days after the firing of James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, Mr. Rosenstein repeatedly expressed anger over the White House’s treatment of him and has said the experience damaged his reputation.

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