Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SCOTUS to US Territories: You are Colonies

Status questions are now settled for Puerto Rico and other United States territories. They will remain congressional dependencies with little to no self-determination—colonies, in effect—until Congress says otherwise, allowing them to become states or become independent. This week, the Supreme Court decided a case involving Puerto Rico’s debt structure and chose whether to hear a case involving birthright citizenship in American Samoa, two final rulings in a collection of legal challenges from the territories. A ruling in Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust and a denial of review for Tuaua v. United States on Monday effectively ended a budding theory of self-determination in these areas and confirmed a federal legal view of territories that was established during the height of American imperialism.

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