Precedent not set in stone

Sen. Susan Collins has taken the curious position that she could not support a Supreme Court nominee who does not respect earlier decisions by the court. This, of course, is her way of objecting to anyone who does not support Roe v. Wade.

Collins’ position is curious, as the Supreme Court has over the years overturned more than 150 previous decisions. Would Collins reverse all those rulings? Clearly, the court needs to be free to consider whether earlier rulings are appropriate.

Edmund Doherty

Island Falls

Roe under attack

Sen. Susan Collins will be casting a crucial vote on the next Supreme Court nominee. As she has stated, Collins will not apply a “litmus test” to a candidate, but instead, judge by temperament, qualifications, experience, and respect for precedent and the rule of law. By contrast, the president has promised to fill Supreme Court seats with ideological judges in order to bring down decisions such as Roe v. Wade. As a physician, I am particularly concerned about this issue.

Judges are not legislators; their job is to apply the law and not make it. By promising to nominate judges who have a record of hostility toward Roe v. Wade, the president is advocating legislation from the bench. That demeans the role that Collins plays in the Senate as part of the legislative body.

The decision that protects a woman’s right to choice is almost 50 years old; two generations have become accustomed to this precedent. Should the law be eroded further, it would disproportionately affect poorer women and is essentially discriminatory. Collins’ constituents, many of whom live in rural, medically underserved areas, will be hurt by decisions that affect medical options available to them. I urge her to consider this as she chooses how to vote.

I am also concerned about Obergefell v. Hodges. Maine voters approved same-sex marriage in 2012 prior to the decision by the Supreme Court legalizing it nationwide. Clearly a majority of Mainers support this legislation. It should not be tampered with by the Supreme Court.

Lisa Buck

Orono

Collins and ‘established law’

It is not surprising that Sen. Susan Collins, given her pro-abortion position, would adopt a pro-Roe v. Wade litmus test with which to judge the fitness of the next Supreme Court nominee. Had she been a senator in the past, she no doubt would have applied her “established law” criterion to the Dred Scott decision to approve a nominee dedicated to maintain it in force.

Roe v. Wade has drawn legal criticism since its quixotic discovery that abortion is rightfully included in the Constitution. It remains a contentious issue among the populace. That it should not be revisited and reconsidered through comparable anti-abortion challenges at the Supreme Court by members who truly believe in the constructive interpretation of the Constitution denies the voices of anti-abortion advocates to be heard.

Collins “established law” litmus test is a fig leaf for her pro-abortion stance. If she is a firm believer in the rule of law, then any nominee who will ensure that the highest law in the land is observed should satisfy the senator, regardless of what issue is before the court.

Ron Goldstone

Hampden

Respect the people’s will

I am truly disgusted, and I hope all Mainers are, with the performance of the Maine Legislature and governor. They have acted as if the people of Maine don’t count or don’t even exist.

In 2016, four referenda passed, each of which has been amended to significantly reduce or delay what voters approved. More than 18 months after that election, there are still no retail sales of marijuana. A successful ballot question to tax high income Mainers to pay to fully fund the state’s share of public education was essentially repealed. Increasing the minimum wage has gone into effect for minimum-wage workers, but eliminated for tipped workers. Ranked-choice voting could have been implemented by the Legislature and governor, but they have refused.

The 2017 referendum to add about 70,000 to MaineCare, Maine’s Medicaid program, easily approved by voters, has been resisted from Day One by many legislators, as well as the governor. The governor especially appears to have no respect for the will of the voting public. He has blocked every effort to implement all these laws.

I don’t agree with all these results, but I accept them. Why can’t the governor and Legislature?

It is time for legislators and the governor to respect the will of voters and to implement the laws as approved by the voting public. If they can’t, they should be replaced in November. Maybe it’s time we voted only for legislators and a governor who respects the referendum process.

Larry Dansinger

Bangor

BDN digital a winner

On the first day of BDN’s new digital system, I immediately signed up for it. I became disillusioned quickly. I had to move things around on the screens of my iMac and tablet. It was just as awkward to use as the old free version.

I called BDN’s digital subscription number to ask to cancel my subscription. The gentleman said the new system was especially created for use on smartphones in which the screen images fit perfectly. I told him my wife and I have Tracfones that allow us to keep in touch with our family no matter where we are, and the phones are inexpensive when compared to smartphones. I asked him to cancel our subscription because I didn’t want to go the expensive route of smartphones.

He said we were still going to be OK. He said that because I am now a subscriber, I didn’t have to stay in the section outside the pay system. He said to go to the BDN subscriber center, and he said I would like what I see. I did go there, and what a difference. The images fit perfectly on my screen. You can’t change the font size like you can on the e-edition system, but on my Kindle Fire tablet, I can easily read everything anyway. I think the monthly subscription price of $7.99 is well worth the cost.

The BDN has a winner with their new digital system.

Jim McKeen

Bangor