National Civil Rights Organizations Speak out against Insular Cases

On February 10, the American Civil Liberties Union and a dozen other civil rights organizations sent a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the Biden administration to repudiate the Insular Cases. The Insular Cases are a series of 20th century Supreme Court decisions about insular (that is, island) territories the United States… Read more »

Sen Rick Scott: Puerto Rico Destined for Statehood

In May, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) made news when he stated that Puerto Rico “will eventually be a state” of the United States. Last week, he continued to make news when he commented on the possible timing of statehood and reinforced his belief that Puerto Rico is destined for statehood. “Right now there is not enough… Read more »

Harvard Panelists See Risks and Opportunities for Puerto Rico’s Economy

On Thursday, February 17, 2022, Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government hosted a panel on Zoom entitled “The Economic Outlook for Puerto Rico Post-Bankruptcy.” The three panelists were: Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and a Puerto Rico Oversight and Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) oversight board member; Antonio Weiss,… Read more »

Did Puerto Rico Ever Have a Compact of Free Association?

As supporters of a Puerto Rico “commonwealth” status pivot to support a yet-to-be defined Free Association alternative, confusion about the meaning of “commonwealth” and of free association continues to show up. The confusion is understandable: The 1952 Puerto Rican Constitution, which established the current governing structure of Puerto Rico, named the new insular government the… Read more »

Walter Dellinger’s Enduring Contributions to the Puerto Rico Status Debate

When constitutional scholar Walter Dellinger died last week at the age of 80, his notable career was recognized throughout the country. Yet one valuable contribution by the preeminent legal expert largely escaped notice: Mr. Dellinger’s expertise on Puerto Rico’s political status. In a public statement, United States Attorney General Merrick B. Garland praised Dellinger’s contributions… Read more »

Child Tax Credit Now Available to Puerto Rico

Families in Puerto Rico now have full access to the dependent child tax credit — after they file federal income tax forms to claim it. The Child Tax Credit is a refundable credit, which means that it is paid to parents even if they do not earn enough to pay income taxes. Until 2021, Puerto… Read more »

Democratic Party Platform of 1916

Puerto Rico has been part of the national political party platforms for a long time. How long? See this mention of Puerto Rico in the 1916 Democratic Party Platform. Under the heading “Territories,” the platform says, We favor granting to the people of Alaska, Hawaii and Porto Rico the traditional territorial government accorded to the… Read more »

Recognizing the Arecibo Observatory

The Arecibo Observatory was the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world from the 1960s until China built a larger one in 2016. The dish was an important tool for research until it collapsed in 2020. HR 827 Resident Commissioner Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) introduced HR 827, a resolution to recognize the value of Arecibo,… Read more »

Is an Unconstitutional Choice Still a Choice?

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has no senators, just one non-voting member of Congress (instead of the four voting members it would have as a state), and no representation in the electoral college. With no say in presidential elections, no voice in the Senate, and limited participation in the House, Puerto Rico is treated… Read more »