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This US Election May Finally Be Over and Other Year End News From Washington, DC

I have good news from DC about the US election. On Monday, December 14 the United States Electoral College met virtually and certified that Joe Biden is the President-elect and Kamala Harris as Vice-President-elect. The drama continues to drag on due to the machinations of a very sore loser, but many Republicans are finally acknowledging the fact. I think that the Electoral College is an outdated institution that violates the principle of “one person, one vote”. Its state winner-take-all approach can result in the winner of the popular vote losing the election as has happened twice in this century. However eliminating the College would require a Constitutional amendment and that probably is not going happen soon.

I want to share updates about some recent legal and other information sources. The excellent librarians at the Law Library of Congress continue to post information about updates to Congress.gov and their other valuable online resources. On December 11 they posted that they have updated the Guide to Law Online: US States and Territories to include links to much more digital content. All of the Law Library guides can be found at this link. On November 9 they announced their new Congress.gov Help Center in a blogpost along with other new tips. Back in September they also compiled a guide to Federal, State, and Local Government Responses to COVID-19. The entire Library of Congress remains closed, but online services and resources are still available.

The White House, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have set up a general information website, coronavirus.gov. Unfortunately the US now has over 16 million cases of the virus and over 300,000 people have died. Since cases continue to surge, these numbers will continue to rise until the vaccines become widely available. The first vaccines are now being distributed, but it will take many months before a significant number of people are protected.

The Supreme Court of the US continues to hear cases virtually in their 2020 October term. These recordings are available on C-SPAN. I like the new format which allows the lawyers to present their arguments without interruption. Then the Justices ask their questions in order of seniority within a time limit. On November 10, I listened to the most recent case challenging the Affordable Care Act and was very pleased to be able to hear an argument proceed without constant interruptions.

I want to conclude this brief update with a recommendation to please check out my favorite online learning platform FutureLearn. They offer a wide variety of free classes including a recent one about Understanding Diversity and Inclusion and others ranging from Jane Austen to Irish 101. I have been busy with so many other online events that I have neglected this incredible resource.

Happy Holidays to you all and a fervent wish that 2021 will be a better year for us all.

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