Obama should keep quiet until high court rules

President Barack Obama may be eager to run for re-election against the U.S. Supreme Court over his health care law, but he should at least wait until the court rules.

The nine justices spent three days in late March hearing both sides of a case brought by attorneys general in 26 states, including Maine, challenging the law.

The states challenged the government’s position that the Constitution’s commerce clause allows Congress to penalize people for not buying insurance.

Opponents say the law doesn’t just regulate commerce, it forces people who had no intention of doing so to engage in commerce.

The conservatives on the court grilled the government’s lawyer, who mysteriously seemed unprepared for their questions.

The tone of the discussion led many to conclude that a majority of justices would strike down all or part of the law.

But what the public sees in court is only the beginning of a long process as justices research issues and try to persuade their peers on the bench to accept their positions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is seen as a possible swing, and Chief Justice John Roberts seemed more open-minded than the three more predictable conservatives on the court.

The court has been known to defy expectations.

In the meantime, Obama has been lecturing the court from the campaign trail against taking “an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

The “strong majority” comment is outright fiction. The health care law passed the U.S. House 219- 212, without a single Republican vote, and even 34 Democrats voted against it.

Second, striking down a narrow part of the law would not be unprecedented.

Government lawyers have often tried stretching the commerce clause, which gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, and their efforts have been rejected.

Former President Bill Clinton’s legal team once argued that possessing a gun in a school constitutes an economic activity. Later, the government argued that violence against women fell under interstate commerce.

The court rejected both arguments.

The question before the court this time is even more legitimate: Can Congress compel people to engage in commerce that it then intends to regulate?

The opposite argument is that nearly all of us will need health care, and engage in commerce, at some point in our lives.

Like Republicans first did in the 1980s, we have supported the health insurance mandate on very practical grounds: The vast majority of people with insurance end up paying the bills of those who do not have it.

Health insurance isn’t like fire or flood insurance. Choose not to buy those, and you are homeless when the house burns or floods.

But we have decided as a civil society to treat everyone who shows up at a hospital. The critically ill car crash victim cannot be denied care.

In effect, we are all covered by a form of insurance that guarantees us lifesaving care.

If we are covered, then, to the best of our abilities, we should be required to pay something, if only a nominal amount.

The court, of course, may disagree. But until it does, Obama should let up on the demeaning lectures.


The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Richard Begin's picture

President O'Bama


You might be right about my Mistaken observation of The president. I of course am relatively New to the Political arena and much less inclined to view things like others. However that Said

Here is what seems to be going on with O'bama He is nothing more or less then an extension of the Clintonian Legacy. He should be thanking his Luck Stars that Hillary has performed so well in her current Position.. He also scored Success with the Talent of Leon Panetta another Bright Star.

As I may have previously indicated I was an Initial Strong supporter of President Bush.It was to be expected that many would rally around G W Bush in light of the September 11th Terrosist attacks through the Eastern Seaboard of the Nation

As the Rudderless direction in which his Forein Policy Agenda was heading I bcame incresingly concerned that he was off message.

However it's a funny thing about the Lingering questions about did Sadamm actully Have Weapons of Mass destruction or did he not?

Was that a Massive Intelligence failure as some have speculated or was it a Vain Glorious Attempt to Pull the Wool over everyone's Eyes? When will we the Public ever get the answere to this Question?

I have to wonder why did GW have to be so darned determined to remove Saddam? Well I do suspect that Time will reward him for having the Vision to attempt to clean up that Pool of terror but he should have contineaued with Iran

Where are the general pattons when we need them?

Having been Both a veteran of the Vietnam Era and a Student of the Subsequent Books that have been written about the period of US Involvement in South East Asia I am constantly concerned about an out of Control US Military Both doing too much and doing to little.

President O'bama being the Incumbent has many Perks of the office at his disposal. But Factor in the Rising Fuel expenses, coupled with the impression that here is a Novice who has run out of Creative ideas.

Next enter the 'Tea Party Dragon' here is an Entity that few saw emerging. yet the debate about the Wall Street bail out and the GMC Bail out and the Signature success of O'bama Care ensure that He Prez O'bama has a record to Defend and to run on to the American People.

As far as Mayor Mac donald He seems serious enough to want change but at the end of the day wht can he accomplish.?

Also Tom Peters former Council President has become to silent these days.So there you have it sorry for Jumping all over the Board, I still have not found My sea legs but I'll contineau to work towards getting a better message

Oh also I believe the need for President O'bama to contineau to Foster a strong pro Social Environment is important. How elese can he maintain his Base or Core support.?

It is Similar to former Maine Governor Baldaccis' decision to cater to the Pro Gay & lesbian Crowd. They Like Susan were despertely seeking someone who could be their Voice.

The attempt to Force Same Sex Marriage upon the Innocent God Abiding Citizens of Maine; By Governor Baldacci will Go down in History as his most successful Agenda for Social Engineering Which was originally started with the Election of Billary Clinton

The catholic Church of maine was wise to drop out of that Battle certainly groups like the Wonderful Folks such as the Latter day Saints will take up the Challange and further Protect Maine from Such an unappealing Idea


MARK GRAVEL's picture

The entire situation

The entire situation exemplifies Obama’s arrogance. Thank goodness for separation of powers.

Richard Begin's picture

Suprem prediction

I'll concede you make some good points. I had not thought about Harrison & Harding. I did like GW Bush in the begining but he took us into some directions that were not worth it by any extreme.

Now I will agree with you about the Nabbing of Bin Laden. When we Pause and Digest the Killing of Bin Laden that really wasa game changer Also Mr Obama has actually had some impressive Success in the Foreing Policy area, espicially in confronting the Chinese expansion efforts in the Pacific.

Secratary Clinton has also distinguished herself quiet well.Perhaps Worse is a much over used term and I will concede President Obama has some good points.

It's just that things just do not seem to be getting better. But Thanks for the comeback Jason and you write well


Richard Begin's picture

Obama and Supreme discussions

President Obama has to be the Worst President that one could imagine Our Nation has ever had to Deal with. He has assembeled a Host of B Grade Cabinet Officials. His Choice of Joe Biden as VP is indicative of what a narrow minded lack of creativity kind of a Guy that President Obama is all about.

As though he is going to be successful with his ways of intimadation with the Likes of Justice Thomas and kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito and Justice Scalia

Hey Prez Obama read what happened to FDR when he tried to Monkey with the Supreme Court.I'm sorry to disappoint you followers of President Obama.You see most of Us who are really struggling to make Ends meet.

Well we represent a growing Chorus of Voters who have had enough of your lack of Vision and your Lack of Understanding of what the Institution the Supreme Court is all about in fact this lastest Tussel is an indicator of what a Real Novice the President is.

It is difficult to show Respect for the office of the president when This Guy has done little or nothing to Earn the Respect of the Majority of Americans who work every day.

Now to that Segment who do not work well Presient's Behavior is Music to their Ears.Here we have a president who certainly knows that by declaring Obama health care to be Unconstitutional if tht is the Case. Tehn without that President Obama has nothing to stand for and believe me here is a Guy who has never demonstrated his ability to think on his Feet.

What he has done well is to try to portray his failed agenda as a Massive failure that was caused by the Opposition.

But The Ruse and game are Over As Troublig as Bill and hillary were at Times what Barak and Michelle represent is the real Bottom of the Barrell

Jason Theriault's picture

Your are wrong

I doubt I will convince you are even make a dent in your thinking, but here I go anyway.

Obama is not the worst president. Not even close.

If you rate Presidents by how much they got done, worst would be President Harrison, who's only real act as president was convening congress, dying 30 days after his inauguration.

If you rate them by quality, well, then Harding is the worst, who had multiple cabnet members go to jail for corruption.

But then again, you probably rate Bush as a good president.
I mean, Bush got us into two wars, spent FAR more money than Obama has, and had one of his advisors go to jail for breaching national security.

Hell, just for getting Bin Ladin, he should at least be in the middle.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

It took Bush 8 years to spend

It took Bush 8 years to spend what he spent; oBAMa's done it in less than 4.
As far as getting Bin Laden goes, we never even got to see the body, did we? Far as I'm concerned they dumped Abdullah Fatahoui in the ocean.

Jason Theriault's picture

Not the whole story

It's easy to say that Obama has out spent Bush. However, its not entirely true. Alot of the spending from the Bush administration carried over to Obama's. So to blame Obama for programs that were enacted by Bush isn't honest.

Here is a break down of spending by who originated it.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

As president, Obama has the

As president, Obama has the power to change direction in spending – it is called the veto. At some point, you can no longer blame Bush.

As a leader, Obama is fully culpability for spending during his administration, period – the buck stops with him. He controls his signature on bills.

Obama - be a leader, take responsibility, and take action.
It is time to grow a pair and realize that Obama controls the hand that guides his signature – stop blaming the previous administration.

In 2008, the national debt was about 70% of GDP. In 2011, it surpassed 100% of GDP. Again, Obama had the power to change that trend, but he did not.

In my opinion, if the President can do nothing but point his finger, it is a sign he has no solution. A true leader, simply identifies the problem, and proposes the solution. They don’t whine and blame others.

Obama’s behavior does not exhibit leadership; it is time to get real and fix the damn sending problem.
To placate your politics, let me say that I did not agree with Bush’s spending polices either. That said, I did not bring up Bush until now for his time has passed. Obama’s time is present; it is time to shut up and fix the damn spending problem

Jason Theriault's picture

You know

You know, for someone who has a founder father as an avatar(or I'm assume such, as I cant make it out fromt he small size), you don't know how the government works.
The president cannot just change the law that is in place.

He cannot say "I'm gonna revoke the tax cut Bush gave to the rich". He cannot cut Medicare part D. He cannot just undo stuff. They are laws, and to be undone, would have to go through congress.

And don't give me this "Stop blaming the previous administration". I'm not blaming them. I think alot of what Bush spent money on was the right thing to do. I think the Iraq war was a bad idea, but I think he was duped by Iranian operatives into thinking Iraq had more than it did. But when you try to use facts inappropriately and disingenuously, I am gonna come after you. You can call it whining if you want. It wont stop me from dropping data on you like a anvil in a loony tunes cartoon.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Only Outcomes Matter - nothing else.

The president does have vote power, as I previously mentioned. He can tell Congress that he will not sign a budget into law, unless it cuts the deficit by, say, 10%. He can veto said budget, can he not?

Now of course his veto can get overridden, but not standing ground is, IMHO, a clear lack of leadership in solving the spending problem. But then, we both know Obama has no interest in cutting spending.
Obama is also the commander and chief. He has sole power to unwind the Iraq conflict much faster than he did, saving trillions of dollars, again he did not.

If you like cartoon analogies, perhaps you should fancy yourself as wonder woman trying to deflect the crux of the issue with our superfluous data.

All that you need to know about the national debt is that when you went to bed last night, the national debt was X, this morning it is X+Y. That trend is not sustainable, and the President can influence spending through veto power and more importantly leadership; take former President Reagan for example. He had the ability to influence public opinion and the congressional agenda.
Perhaps you should think about entering politics, you’re good at spewing superfluous facts, but ever accomplishing anything.

In closing, remember that only outcomes matter!

Jason Theriault's picture


First off - you say the president can veto a budget. When was the last time a budget has gotten to him?

Two - He is pull troops out as fast as he thinks is possible. I think it might be too fast, but this is one of those times where pulling the troops out too fast may destabilize our puppet governments. Then everything our troops died for is for naught. It's a situation where the cost isn't measured in money, but blood.

Three - You sure you want to bring up Reagan? Talk about debt. Every Republican president for the past 20 some odd years, starting with Reagan, has increased the debt to gdp ratio.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

There you go again. I used

There you go again. I used Reagan as an example of a good communicator that had the finesse to influence public opinion. However, you change the topic - nothing more, nothing less.

All that you need to do is agree or disagree that Reagan was a good communicator to stay on topic.
In that context, yes I want to bring up Reagan, and I’m sure you can keep the apples from mixing with the oranges.

If you want to discuss Reagan’s spending policy, then start a new topic.

In closing, you should use data that is up to date. Currently the national debt is greater than GDP. Year 2009 is old news.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Lord Vader has spoken...0O:-)

Lord Vader has spoken...0O:-)

Richard Begin's picture

President Obama and the Supreme Court


Nice of you to comment.

I'm not in a position to know whose Body was Deposited in the Ocean, I was not invited to witness it and so I'm in no position to say either way. Sometimes it's better Not to allow such thoughts to take up space in your head. If I could drift off Topic for a minute.

What kind of Job is Bob Mac Donald doing these days? I thought he would do well. Bob is a Fine Upstanding Man with a Sincere concern for the Better good Of Lewiston. What a breath of fresh Air not having to listen to Mayor Gilbert whine so much.

But returning to President Obama what puzzels me is how Niave he contineaus to Behave. Sooner or Later One would think that he would get with the Program..

Certainly even someone like him must realizie things all come at a Price.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I think, Richard, you may be

I think, Richard, you may be mistaking obama's political cunning for naivete. He knows exactly what he's doing-trying to socialize America and 'fundamentally transorm it'. Those last three words are his.

Mayor Macdonald has been relatively quite up until today. He was quoted in the LSJ today of favoring the cutting of funding for Adult Education. I think Bob Macdonald is Paul LePage with a different zip code.


Obama's comments

I was under the impression that the Supreme Court voted immediately after the arguments and that they are not going to revisit their vote. The president may have stated an opinion but it could not have been to influence their vote since it came after they had voted. It was more than likely calculated to influence the vote for the presidency something all the candidates and their money guys will be doing ad nauseam until the election.

Jason Theriault's picture

I think your right

While Obama might influence the opinion, I think they have already decided. Now they have broken up into groups to write the dissenting and affirming opinions.

 's picture

The usual process is to take an initial vote ...

... to see where they stand - sort of like when a jury starts deliberating. Assuming it's not unanimous, for or against, they start debating the matter among themselves and take as long as they damn well please before issuing a final ruling.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The Supreme Court won't make

The Supreme Court won't make public their final opinions until some time in June. Your president has plenty of time to attempt to influence their final decisions by whatever means he considers effective; legal or otherwise.

Jason Theriault's picture

Wow, what a steaming pile you dropped.

Way to go SJ editorial board. This editorial is a steaming turd.

Lets see:
1. The Government can make you buy things. I wrote a letter to the editor about it barely a week ago. Presidents Washington and Adams both made private citizens buy things through legislation. But really, when it comes down to it, making someone buy something is a tax. In a traditional tax, the government takes your money and spends it. This is just a tax where they let you hold onto it until it goes to an insurance company.

2. Obama isn't the first president to brow beat the Supreme Court. Hell, FDR was going to pack the court to get his way. This is an election year, and like it or not, the court is a political body. There is no way their decisions won't have an effect on the election, so to expect either candidate to lay off them is foolish.

If they wanted to stay above the fray, they should have heard the case after the election.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

oBAMa's claim of an

oBAMa's claim of an 'unprecedented extraordinary step' is bogus. In our 200 plus year history, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned congressionally legislated mandates 158 times. Unprecedented my eye. Let's hope he lies himself right back to being a 'community organizer' again.

Jason Theriault's picture

Your right on one thing

The 'unprecedented extraordinary step' is just rhetoric. Obama is fighting for the mandate, and is putting pressure on the court.

Jason Theriault's picture


People who disagreed with me.

I just wanted to point out that I agreed with Pirate. Yet, you disagreed with me and agreed with him. Either you're not reading the posts or you're messing with me on purpose.

Jason Theriault's picture


It's late and I misread it

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

In a random display of unity,

In a random display of unity, it appears we both read the same thing.


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