The Supreme Court is considering a case based on the question of whether, in relation to the Constitutional concept of Double Jeopardy, Puerto Rico is a separate sovereign entity from the United States, as the States are. Social media is weighing in.
Deputy Attorney General Nicole A. Saharsky presented one side of the argument with two simple points. Puerto Rico, Saharksy claimed, is not a sovereign entity because, first, “territories belong to the United States, meaning that they are under the sovereignty of the United States,” and second, “Congress is the one that makes the rules.”
The opposition says that since Congress has plenary power over the territories, Congress has the power to come up with new, creative solutions for territories — including “enhanced commonwealth” which would give Puerto Rico a greater degree of sovereignty than other territories.
This argument prompted Robert T. McGibbon (@rmcgibbo) to tweet, “Puerto Rico v.Sanchez Valle argument is the same silliness ‘Can an omnipotent God create rock so heavy he can’t lift [it]?’ ”
Most tweets about the case are simply linking to the documents and oral arguments as they become available, but Luis Marentes (@marentesluis) is one of those who sees big implications in the case, no matter how many times the Supreme Court says they don’t plan to get into the politics of the question. “So many issues at stake as the Supreme Court considers Puerto Rico’s sovereignty in Sanchez Valle,” he tweeted.
Pinina (@fraupenina) is another who sees big news here. “Hoy Sánchez Valle reescribe la historia,” she tweeted: “Today Sanchez Valle rewrites history.”
NotiUno 630 (@NotiUno) suggested that “Caso Sánchez Valle podría revelar misterio del ELA” — “Valle Sanchez case could reveal mystery of ELA.”
John E. Mudd (@Muddlaw) Storified his take on last week’s oral arguments:
Most of those who live-tweeted the oral arguments did so in Spanish. But media being tweeted was mostly in English: Mother Jones, Slate, Huffington Post, our own coverage here at Puerto Rico Report, and SCOTUSBlog.
Facebook is discussing the case mostly at news pages. Metro Puerto Rico’s post is typical: “The Case of people v. Sanchez Valley could have direct implications on the constitutional and political relations between Puerto Rico and the United States.”
Josue Abiezer Borges Figueroa responded, “The relationship has never changed. It’s still a colony of the United States. Under the Territorial Clause and the Plenary Powers of Congress. All the demagogy of a bilateral pact and sovereignty is a political lie of the past.”
El Nuevo Dia offered a similar post with similar comments. The Governor of Puerto Rico, on the other hand, is holding that Puerto Rico “is not a mere territory” but that it enjoys a unique relationship with the United States. The U.S. government continues to deny that, and many of the comments were unflattering. For example, Angel Torres said, “Agp you’re a jerk…… You don’t understand that the United States has already said that Puerto Rico is a territory subject to the plenary powers of Congress. Understand Puerto Rico is a colony.”
Others called for independence or statehood — or, as Jose Flores Dos put it, “Two roads, independent or state.”