Veto fight is over

As a law student, a number of family and friends have asked me to explain LePagegate. Particularly, they want to know whether he just “lost,” if the matter is closed, with finality.

My answer is technically no but probably yes.

The opinion handed down by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday is an advisory opinion. It is not a true case or controversy. Their words are not a “ruling”; they have no force and effect. There is no “holding of the court,” which can have determinative precedential value.

As a result, a party with standing could challenge the legality of any of these 65 laws, based on the same questions of legislative procedure discussed herein by the court.

So, in short, it ain’t over.

However, I think it quite remarkably unlikely that any such challenge would result in substantive departures from the jurisprudence set out by the court. As such, while further lawsuits might be filed, I expect they have absolutely no chance of prevailing. The 65 bills are law, and so they shall remain.

It’s possible a judge could issue a preliminary injunction. This would hold up a challenged law until such time as a formal legal determination could be made.

The test for the issuance of a preliminary injunction would be hard to satisfy. This particularly as to the “likelihood of success on the merits” prong, because the merits of the case already have been determined by the highest court in the state.

David Axel Kurtz


Two Maines

Gov. Paul LePage is correct when he says there are two Maines. Take a trip, above Augusta and away from the coast. The real Maine suffers daily at the hands of southern Maine. Roads, bridges and school budget dollar cuts suffer more when the dollar buys less in the first place.

Think of it this way: Would you like to live in a place where the closest full-line grocery store is 25 minutes away? These people do it and do not worry about it — most of the time. Southern Mainers really need to understand that life is very different in other areas within the same state.

John Bickerstaff


SAT shortcomings

The Aug. 6 Bangor Daily News Other Voices, “Why the SAT Matters,” provided an interesting insight into how the value of SAT can be interpreted. Consider this passage: “The vast variation in high school course offerings and grading systems makes a uniform method of evaluation such as a standardized test extremely useful.” The question is “extremely useful” to what end? It may provide uniform information to admissions offices, but it doesn’t represent in any way the validity of a student’s past or predicted college performance.

Yes, I know, “research shows,” but the research actually masks a critical issue. Let’s take Student A from a school that offers a great range of courses, including APs, and has a reputation for realistic evaluation standards. Further, allow that Student A is a very good student, is motivated, works hard, does well. The likelihood is this student will do well on the SAT.

Student B, however, attends a school that is underfunded, has outdated texts, no AP courses and a reputation for poor performance by teachers and students. The likelihood is this student won’t do well on the SAT. However, Student B’s actual potential has not been assessed by her school experience. Had Student B been in Student A’s school, how would she have performed?

This is what the SAT masks. If Student B has not been exposed to the same educational culture, this in no way invalidates her intelligence, motivation or potential. Therefore, use the SAT sparingly.

Mark Schwartz