Divisive 2020 Elections–Are They Contagious?

We Americans are a pretty self-centered bunch. In case you’ve been living under a rock (one buried miles beneath Earth’s surface), let me inform you this is the year for a U.S. presidential election. The race has been divisive and caused unrest, and all American eyes are on it. Seemingly it is all we can talk, read, and think about. But this phenomenon is not uniquely American. Negatively eventful elections seem to be contagious and spreading this year. Exhibit A? Cote d’Ivoire.

Say what? Cote d’Ivoire is a country in Africa. For English speakers, it is more commonly known as the Ivory Coast, a nod to active participation in the ivory trade. The nation earned its independence from France in August 1960 which explains why an African nation’s official language is French and it bears a French name. Mais oui! The Ivory Coast, which is fairly prosperous, is the world’s top cocoa producer and the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans,

But it’s political trouble, not cocoa, that’s brewing and making news in Cote d’Ivoire these days. And the trouble is about to boil over with a contentious presidential election set for Saturday, October 31st. I am not trying to trick you. The election is actually set on a weekend and on a holiday–at least one we Americans recognize.

What’s happening in Cote d’Ivoire could easily be a summary of what’s happening here in the U.S. The incumbent president, who is in his 70’s, is running for re-election. Opponents claim that he is taking actions which are unconstitutional. Civil unrest, including actual violence, has broken out. Some fear that if the incumbent loses, he will refuse to concede defeat. Sound familiar? It does to me.

Since we here in the U.S. are so wrapped up in our own country’s divisiveness, I’m assuming most of us have no clue about what’s happening in the “jewel of West Africa.” This news hasn’t played in the media I’ve had occasion to watch or read. But the events in cocoa country indicate that divisive political elections in 2020 are widespread.

Exactly what’s going on in Cote d’Ivoire? If you like political soap operas, this summary is for you. The current president is Alassane Ouattara, age 78. (In comparison, Joe Biden is age 77 turning 78 on November 20th). Ouattara’s been in politics for years having survived a setback in 1995 when he was barred for running from office due to the claim he’d actually been born in another country, Burkina Faso, and not Cote d’Ivoire. (Sound familiar, Barack?)

A U.S. educated economist, Ouattara overcame the “birther” attack and was elected to his first five-year term as president in 2010. He was re-elected with 84 % of the vote in 2015. But in March 2020, he announced he would not seek a third term as president. Nevertheless, Ouattara threw his hat into the ring in August after his designated successor unexpectedly died of a heart attack in July.

Ouattara’s opposition claims his candidacy for a third term is unconstitutional. In 2016 (after his election to a second term), a new constitution imposed a two-term limit. Nah! That didn’t apply to him, the current president said, because he was elected prior to the new constitution’s enactment, thereby setting his term count to zero. The opposition didn’t buy that reasoning and began urging a boycott of the electoral process believing that the election was rigged.

A civil disobedience campaign was also called for by the opposition. Unfortunately, the resulting disobedience has been anything but civil. Nearly 30 people have been killed in clashes between rival supporters. Killings in Dabou were carried out by men armed with machetes and assault rifles. That’s not civil! The local offices of Ivory Coast’s ruling party were ransacked, and the house of another presidential candidate was burned. Ouattara’s opposition claims his government has sent gangs of armed thugs called “microbes” (aha, germs are involved!) to intimidate the opposition’s allies.

But things will quiet down after the election, right? Well, first Ivory Coast has to get through the election. Approximately 35,000 law enforcement personnel have been deployed to ensure poll security. Even after the votes are counted, things may not be calm if history is any indication. In 2010, the incumbent president refused to concede defeat by Ouattara leading to a brief civil war in which 3,000 people were killed. Fearing deja vu, residents of the port of Abidjan, the country’s biggest city, are stocking up on provisions and sending family members to rural villages ahead of the divisive election this weekend fearing things may turn violent. Yikes! Better stock up on cocoa now just in case things really go south in West Africa.

And in the Ivory Coast, unlike the U.S., there’s not just one loser. A total of four candidates were cleared to run in this election. It’s an interesting cast of characters; in addition to Ouattara, there’s 86 year old former president Henri Konan Bedie, former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, and independent candidate Kuoadio Konan Bertin. I don’t know who will win, but I do know that 75% of the presidential candidates will be unhappy with the outcome. At least in the U.S., only 50% of such candidates will be bummed by the election results.

Divisive 2020 elections are clearly widespread with instances of such conflict not only in North America but in Africa as well. Unfortunately, this divisiveness is not caused by a virus for which a vaccine might be found. Sadly, we are stuck with divisiveness which is simply a result of human nature. Being ugly, combative, and intolerant of those with differing political views is contagious. Wearing a mask won’t solve that problem, but disciplining ourselves to act civilly and agreeing to disagree will.

Just WONDER-ing:

Were you aware that divisive political races were occurring in countries other than the U.S. this year? What did you know about Cote d’Ivoire before reading this post? Does the tone of current political elections simply reflect the incivility of society in general? How could elections be made less divisive?

Re-MOO-ving Our Masks For Herd Immunity?

For months we’ve been wearing masks to protect ourselves from COVID-19. Now we are hearing from some experts that taking off our masks may be the best bet to keep us protected. Say what? The concept is called herd immunity. If you haven’t heard about herd immunity, get MOO-ving to learn about it.

While we non-scientific types may not grasp the finer points of disease transmission, we do know what a herd is. Animals, likely cows, are involved, right? Indeed, a herd is a large group of one kind of animal which is kept together under human control. Typically, these animals are livestock.

But the herd immunity being discussed in scientific circles in 2020 has nothing to do with cows, pigs, or sheep. It relates to people. That’s a good one. Our group could hardly be deemed to be “under control” with all the dissension, destruction, and denigration attributable to us this year. We aren’t livestock, but some of us are behaving like animals.

The term “herd immunity,” derived from livestock management, was coined a century or so ago. The backdrop for the new phrase was a disease spreading around cattle farms. Famers combated the disease by retaining the immune cows, raising the calves, and avoiding the introduction of foreign cattle. Herd immunity’s application was extended to humans when it was observed that a significant number of children were immune to measles. (Or should that be im-MOO-ne if herd is modifying the word?)

The basic concept of herd immunity is that such a large portion of the community has become immune to a disease that its spread from person to person becomes unlikely. If enough people are resistant to the cause of a disease such as a virus, it has nowhere to go. But the more contagious a disease is the greater the proportion of the population that’s got to be immune to stop the spread. Yikes! Now with proportions we’re getting into math as well as science.

Varying estimates have been proposed as to what percentage of the U.S. population would have to have recovered from COVID-19 to halt the epidemic. These percentages range from 70% (or over 200 million people) to 90% (almost 300 million people). That’s a mighty big herd of people!

There are two paths to achieving herd immunity–infection and vaccines. Natural resistance come from exposure to the virus causing the production of antibodies which move to fight the infection. Vaccines also build resistance in the immune system by making protective antibodies. With no vaccine currently available and the timeframe for it to be available uncertain, infection is, according to herd immunity proponents, the path to take. How can you get infected? Take off your mask and let’s see.

Achieving herd immunity is more challenging when it comes to COVID-19. Why? Because it is a novel (as in “new” and not as is “book”) virus. Everyone is at risk of infection because humans have not been infected by it before. Large numbers of people thus need to catch the virus, get sick and then recover before there’s herd immunity.

WHO, the World Health Organization and not the rock band, officials have warned against trying to achieve herd immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci is likewise concerned about such an approach to COVID-19 management. He’s stated that if the U.S. allowed the virus to spread unchecked to achieve herd immunity, “the death toll would be enormous.” And, if too many people get sick at one time, the health care system could become overwhelmed. (Think NYC earlier this year.)

Experts disagree on whether attempting to achieve herd immunity is advisable. Advocating for such focused protection are the three co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration issued on October 4th. This brief declaration, which has now been translated into over 20 languages, argues against lockdowns and calls for the reopening of businesses and schools.

The Declaration’s co-authors aren’t just any Tom, Dick, and Harry–actually make that Harriet since one is a woman. Instead, they are well-credentialed scientists who want COVID-19 policy shifted towards attaining herd immunity. Martin Kulldorff is a Harvard Medical School professor and biostatistician; Jay Bhattacharya, is a professor at Stanford University Medical School; and Sunetra Gupta is an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford. These three individuals convened at the American Institute for Economic Research located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts where the declaration, which now has over 9,000 signers, was issued.

How do the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration think herd immunity should be reached? FREEDOM! They would allow those at minimal risk of death from COVID-19 to live their lives normally, i.e., no masks, no stay-at-home orders, and no mandatory restrictions on activities. Those who are the most vulnerable, on the other hand, would be isolated. The co-author’s envision individuals, based upon their perception of their own personal risk of dying from COVID-19, to themselves choose the risks, activities and restrictions for themselves.

This strategy recognizes that restrictions, such as lockdowns, which are imposed to limit deaths actually cause great harm. Such measures place stress on the economy, increase drug use and domestic violence, result in isolation, and rob youth of unique memories (prom, graduation, etc.) So, the declaration’s co-authors conclude, allowing those who are at little risk of COVID-19 being fatal to them to live without restrictions causes less harm overall.

To no one’s surprise here in 2020, there is sharp disagreement as to how the spread of COVID-19 should be handled when there is no vaccine. Some want restrictions imposed on all to halt its transmission. Others urge aiming for herd immunity for the community. We aren’t cows, so let’s use our brains to determine how best to MOO-ve forward. To mask or not to mask, that is the question.

Just WONDER-ing:

How does it strike you to have the term “herd immunity” applied to humans? What should we do when the experts disagree about how best to handle the situation? Would you feel comfortable re-MOO-ving your mask to help attain herd immunity? Why or why not?

Michigan Militia Members Mastermind Mayhem

Plots to blow up bridges, kill police, attack state capitol buildings, and kidnap governors. Sounds like the storyline of an action packed movie, right? Instead, these are allegations made in state and federal criminal cases currently pending against thirteen men associated with a Michigan militia group. And you thought 2020 couldn’t get any more exciting. Wrong! Just what is this latest news story about planned violence all about?

Michigan may be the center of the American automotive industry, but it is also a “hotbed for militia activity” according to Amy Cooter, a Vanderbilt University lecturer who has studied militia groups for over 12 years. Miliita groups tend to support the Second Amendment (think guns) as well as limited government. The Wolverine Watchmen are one of two to three dozen such groups in Michigan which may pose a threat to good order.

What’s got the paramilitary Wolverine Watchmen up in arms both literally and figuratively? COVID-19 strikes again! These Michigan militia members were incensed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s mandates responding to the coronavirus that shut down businesses and imposed strict stay at home orders. An initial stay at home order she entered in March was further tightened in April. The WW complained about Whitmer’s lockdown of the state deeming the restrictions to be onerous and labeling the governor a “tyrant.” (Actually, Wolverines, the correct term is “tyrantess” when a female is being so labeled.)

Desperate times calling for desperate measures, some Wolverine Watchmen decided that Governor Whitmer needed to be stopped by violent means. To get her out of the way, a kidnap plot was proposed. A “snatch and grab” operation to abduct the governor from her vacation home was set in motion.

Although the political target was never grabbed, the group’s activities did grab the attention of the FBI. Federal agents monitoring social media activity noted some concerning statements made by militia members. I’m no criminal, but I’m assuming kidnapping plots are supposed to be secret and thus not discussed or even hinted at on Facebook, but what do I know?

Springing into action, the FBI began using undercover informants and secret recordings to gather information on suspected nefarious activity by the Michigan militia group. In fact, FBI agents infiltrated the group and collected some damning evidence, including pictures. Let’s see the group members try to explain away those great shots of them taking photos of the governor’s vacation cottage.

The alleged (innocent until proven guilty, remember) ringleader of the group, 37 year old Adam Fox, went to great lengths to conceal his activities. According to FBI affidavits, he used encrypted communications, code words, and a secret meeting room disguised beneath a trap door. Pretty clever for a man living in the basement of a vacuum shop.

And boy did Fox (the animal!) mean business. He purchased a high-powered 800,000 volt Taser for a mere $4,000 for possible use in Whitmer’s kidnapping. Since the average police Taser is only 50,000, Fox was not messing around in his efforts to stage a successful kidnapping. Was he really expecting that much resistance from the governor when it came time to grab her? Well, he didn’t want the police to ride to her rescue, so a nearby bridge was identified which could be blown up to prevent them from reaching Whitmer during the kidnapping.

Fox was no dummy and had a Plan B in case the kidnapping wouldn’t work–sending a fake pizza delivery person to Whitmer’s house to shoot her when she opened the door. I’m not too keen on that plan. First, it presumes the governor would order pizza in while on vacation. Second, what if her hubby, a dentist, or one of her five kids opened the door instead of her? Sounds like too many loose ends to me.

When they didn’t have their sights set on Governor Whitmer, the Michigan militia members were plotting other violence. Wouldn’t it be fun to blow up cop cars and storm the state Capitol in Lansing? Perhaps a civil war could even be incited. Thankfully, none of these ideas came to fruition due to the arrest of thirteen men on October 7th.

Even with those arrests, Governor Whitmer still isn’t in the clear. She revealed in an October 11th interview on “Face The Nation” that security threats against her still exist. In the past few weeks, security upgrades have been made to her residence including the construction of a perimeter fence. Another security step to take, if I might suggest, is not to order a pizza delivery.

A federal criminal case has been brought against six men in the U.S District Court for the Western District of Michigan based on a continuing FBI investigation. These charges could result in a life sentence for the defendants if convicted. Another seven suspects were charged with violating Michigan state anti-terrorism laws. The most serious of the state charges are punishable by up to twenty years in prison per count. Guilty verdicts will give the defendants plenty of time to concoct violent plots in their heads as they are on “lockdown” for prolonged periods of time.

Sadly, the Wolverine Watchmen did not consider utilizing lawful means to counteract Whitmer’s reviled lockdown orders. Michigan has a court system which can review the validity of an elected official’s mandate. Ironically, five days before the 13 militia members were arrested a Michigan judge struck down the strict measures Whitmer had imposed. The system can work, just not as quickly as some may want.

No one can say that Governor Whitmer has had a dull 2020. Many were after her at one point or another–lockdown protestors, Joe Biden in search of a VP candidate, and then the Wolverine Watchmen. Personally, I think excitement is highly overrated. I am perfectly happy to maintain my “dull” existence where no one is out to kidnap me and I don’t have to fear opening the door to a pizza delivery man. Michigan can keep its mayhem.

Just WONDER-ing:

Do you believe our society has become more violent recently? Is it alarming to you that two to three dozen militia groups in one state alone might be a threat to societal order? Is an elected official’s entry of a controversial order a justifiable basis for violence?

Coronavirus Crisis in the Capital–Washington Isn’t Well

With less than a month to go until the presidential election, one would think the upcoming vote would be the biggest headline. Nah! Nothing is normal in 2020; a health topic has been all the buzz. Sure COVID-19’s old news, but there’s a twist now. The high and mighty in our nation’s capital, the Commander in Chief, his staff members/aides, FLOTUS, members of Congress, and the top military brass, have fallen victim to coronavirus. Washington isn’t well.

The D.C. coronavirus crisis started off with a bang when President Trump announced his positive diagnosis via Twitter at 12:54 a.m. last Friday. Call me old school, but I’d have thought such a momentous piece of news would rate a press conference in broad daylight. But, nevertheless, the word got out and spread like–take your pick here in 2020–California wildfires or, fittingly, the coronavirus itself.

By Friday night, President Trump had developed a fever and his blood oxygen level had “dropped rapidly,” requiring him to be given supplemental oxygen at the White House. No ambulance was called for Trump’s transportation to the hospital though. This COVID sufferer is the Commander in Chief, so a helicopter, Marine One, was summoned to fly him to his medical care destination. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Trump’s Covid Copter.

The medical destination for the mask-clad president was Walter Reed, a tri-service (Air Force, Army, and Navy) military medical center in Bethesda, Maryland. While the facility’s official name is Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (“WRNMMC”), it is more commonly known simply as “Walter Reed” after the yellow fever researcher. This facility routinely treats presidents and vice presidents in a secured and autonomous ward. A presidential office is available offering a sitting room, kitchen, conference room, hospital bedroom, and an office for the White House Chief of Staff (assuming that individual isn’t down for the count with COVID and unable to work).

Speculation was rampant as to the president’s condition after his admission to Walter Reed. He is, after all, at higher risk due to his age (74) and weight (just over the threshold for obesity for his height). If the Physician to the President (Navy Commander Sean Conley, D.O.) and the White House’s world-class medical resources weren’t enough to handle the situation, there was cause for concern. Would the president be able to carry out his executive duties or would the 25th Amendment be utilized to designate VP Mike Pence to take over for his boss?

Dr. Conley gave press briefings, but they didn’t provide as much detail as enquiring minds wanted. The press pressed for for further information but were rebuffed. The president must be hiding something, right? Not according to Conley who explained that doctor-patient confidentiality had not been waived. Donald Trump may be the president and live in a fishbowl, but he is a patient like anyone else and entitled to some privacy. Sorry, Charlie! No one’s getting ahold of the president’s lung scans.

Medical updates did reveal Dr. Conley’s patient had been drinking while at Walter Reed–an experimental Regeron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail that is. President Trump downed one 8 gram dose of this so-called cocktail which supplies antibodies to help the immune system fight the virus and rid the body of it. The Commander in Chief also started a five day course of the expensive (think about $520 or so per vial) antiviral remdesivir used with moderately to severely ill patients and shown to speed recovery. This drug curbs the virus’ ability to multiply.

Additionally, the president underwent steroid therapy. Unlike athletes, he wasn’t trying to bulk up; Dexamethasone was given to tamp down on possible dangerous inflammation. This cheap and widely available steroid drug has been around for decades, but it is usually reserved for patients deemed severe or critical cases. In this case it was used because it was critical to get the president better and back to the White House to run the country.

The COVID hospital drama ended Monday evening when the president was released and flew home aboard Marine One. But of course the drama continued thereafter because opinions were offered by many that President Trump had been sent home too early. Home for him, of course, is the White House, which offers “world-class” medical resources and a personal physician unlike the home of your average COVID patient.

Why should the president have all the COVID fun though? The high and mighty in Washington began following suit and testing positive. Forget the D.C. “A” list. There’s now a lengthy “C” list in the nation’s capital, and that “C” stands for COVID. Joining President Trump as COVID patients, among others, are his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, the Republican National Committee Chief Ronna McDaniel, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett politely declined since she’s already participated over the summer.

It’s not just politicians who are on the “C” list either. The military brass didn’t want to be left out. Taken captive by this unseen enemy were the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Millay, the Army Chief of Staff James McConville, the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown, the chief of the National Guard Gen. Daniel Hokanson, and the naval operations chief Adm. Michael Gilday. Sounds like a lot of “stars” are under the gun from this rampant virus.

Notice how the country has come to a screeching halt with all the “C” listers out of action? No? Me either. That’s a good thing since the Russians are surely watching the evening news on our major networks and keenly aware the top honchos are out of the office. But the C-listers are still minding the store even while sick–just remotely. Washington’s not well, but are country is still up and running.

Just WONDER-ing:

How much medical information about a sitting president are Americans entitled to have? Where do you draw the line between patient confidentiality and the public’s right to know? Was it inevitable influential individuals running our country would at some point come down with COVID?

Who’s #9? — Filling Notorious RBG’s Supreme Court Seat

September 18, 2020 arrived, and then there were eight. The U.S. Supreme Court, which consists of nine justices, lost the beloved Ruth Bader Ginsburg that day. Her passing left a whole in the hearts of many as well as an empty chair on the Supreme Court bench. While no one can ever fill this “rock star” justice’s shoes, the court proceedings must go on; thus, a new justice must be selected and seated. Cue the controversy and contention to see who’ll be #9.

Selection of a new Supreme Court justice is a joint undertaking. Under the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, (found in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 for you non-political science majors), the president is empowered to nominate individuals for public office, including Supreme Court justices. This provision means that President Trump, who will remain the sitting president until noon on January 20, 2021 even if he loses the election, nominates his choice to fill the ninth seat on the high court. That nominee is, of course, Amy Coney Barrett. Bottom line? He wants ACB as RBG’s successor.

But the U.S. Senate plays a big part in who’ll be #9 also. As provided in the Appointments Clause, that legislative body must confirm the nominee. The executive branch and the legislative branch have to work together to add to the highest court in the judicial branch. Is it just me, or is anyone else wondering if the concepts of cooperation and collaboration are grasped in our nation’s capital? 

Controversy has erupted over whether President Trump should be able to fill this judicial position. Why? He may be soon headed out of the White House if he loses to Biden. Politics aside, the answer seems clear under the express language of the Constitution. It says the president is empowered to nominate a judicial candidate. And Trump is the president. There is no asterisk to the Appointments Clause that says “except for an election year when the sitting president might lose the election and vacate the office a few months later.”  Call me a literalist, but this is the common sense meaning of the document’s express words. Don’t take my word for it;  read the constitution provision for yourself. You do have a personal copy of this important document, right?

So how does this replacement process work? Now that President Trump has nominated ACB, the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, takes over. Twenty-two members comprise the committee; twelve of its members are affiliated with the majority (Republican) party and ten are associated with the minority (Democratic) party. Confirmation hearings, scheduled to begin October 12th, will be held during which ACB can make an opening statement and be questioned–or grilled depending on the committee member’s party affiliation.

In the end the Judiciary Committee will vote to confirm or reject the nominee. I may not be a math whiz, but ACB should clear this hurdle if the votes are made along party lines–12 Republicans outnumber 10 Democrats. Indeed, Chairman Graham has stated that his committee will approve the nomination on October 22nd.

If, as expected, ACB’s nomination passes the Judiciary Committee, the matter will taken up by the full Senate. This legislative body is currently controlled by the Republicans who hold a  53-47 seat edge. A simple majority vote is required for confirmation, and a vote is anticipated by the end of October. 

ACB should be given a thumbs up since the Republicans control the Senate . But how boring would an easy vote be? Drama is promised as two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have stated they believe the next president should pick the nominee. They presumably then won’t vote to confirm ACB. The Democrats will attempt to sway other Republicans to reject the nominee. But if the vote ends up being tied, President Trump can breathe sigh of relief as Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaker vote. (No, drama there as to which way HE’D vote.) 

The full Senate vote is not the end of the process. Once the Secretary of the Senate advises the president of his nominee’s confirmation, the chief of state must sign a commission officially appointing the new justice. But wait, there’s more! Finally, comes the ceremonial part. The new justice must take both a constitutional oath and a judicial oath. The confirmed nominee raising her right hand to take these oaths is the photo op with which citizens are familiar. 

Who is ACB though, and why would Democrats oppose her confirmation?  Barrett is a 49 year old Caucasian female. If seated on the Supreme Court, she would be its youngest justice. Since justices serve for “good Behaviour” (interpreted to mean for life), Barrett could serve on the court and influence it for decades.

ACB’s  legal qualifications are impressive. She received her law degree from Notre Dame, is currently a judge for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and has served as a law professor at her alma mater, being named as the distinguished professor of the year three times. She teaches Constitutional law, statutory interpretation, and civil procedure (boring rules of how cases are handled for you non-lawyers). ACB also has experience in the Supreme Court itself and is familiar with its operations. She served as a law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia from 1998-1999. Now she could have folks, clerking for HER.

Judicial qualifications aside, ACB is a great multitasker. She is the mother of seven (five biological and two adopted); her youngest child has Downs Syndrome. Barrett juggles raising a large family (with help from her lawyer hubby), serving as a judge, and teaching law school. Any one of these activities can be a full-time undertaking. If she can manage all that, she could manage stepping up to the high court. 

So what’s objectionable about ACB to Democrats, other than the obvious of her having been nominated by President Trump? She is a conservative and a devout Catholic. Her views, they fear, could lead to the overturning of Roe  and rejection of liberal positions. In a previous interview, Barrett has stated that her faith would not impede her ability to carry out her judicial duties, i.e., she knows what the law is and will apply it. 

We’ll have to stay tuned to see if ACB will be approved to follow RBG and become the fifth women to sit on the high court. Only eleven Supreme Court nominees have been rejected by the Senate since 1789, the last time being Robert Bork in 1987. But this is 2020, so in this year anything can and may happen.

Just WONDER-ing:

Should Donald Trump, as the sitting president, make a Supreme Court nomination even though he might lose the upcoming election? If a candidate is qualified, should he/she be rejected due to their political or religious views? What questions should be asked ACB during confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee?