Puerto Rico has found itself in the latest political conversation once again with two events taking place on Thursday.
On Thursday morning, a U.S. Supreme Court decision came down that rejected the notion that Puerto Rico was given sovereignty under their constitution, drafted after given the power in the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950. The Supreme Court ruled against letting Puerto Rico’s court prosecute two weapon dealers who had already plead guilty in federal court.
Puerto Rico sovereignty takes blow at US Supreme Court https://t.co/rzg7uhNjkj
— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 9, 2016
The court’s decision on Puerto Rico’s sovereignty has led many political leaders on the island confused. Some who are pro-independence and statehood leaders applauded the decision as the final blow to a shady constitutional relationship given by former President Harry Truman. ”
Puerto Rico has autonomous status similar to the states. However, in legal cases it was questioned if Puerto Rico’s local courts could prosecute cases under the notion that it would result in double jeopardy if the federal court already had.
PROMESA Act Passed
On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. House passed a controversial bill aimed at taking control of the financial situation in Puerto Rico. The law known as the PROMESA Act passed 297-127.
The PROMESA Act now moves to the Senate, but Puerto Rico’s leadership has promised they will stop the law. One of the co-authors of the legislation is Puerto Rican delegate in Congress Pedro Pierluisi. He was defeated during last Sunday’s Democratic primaries on the island. Pierluisi was running for the governor candidacy for the pro-statehood New Progressive Party.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 9, 2016
In recent months, the Puerto Rico’s governor Alejandro Garcia-Padilla, who has supported the Commonwealth status since the 1950s, has criticized the Congressional intervention in Puerto Rico’s affairs.
Garcia-Padilla stated he would go to the United Nations Decolonization Committee to request that Puerto Rico be added to the colonial lists of nations that has possession of inhabited territories. The United States and the United Kingdom are some of many nations that maintain territories. Puerto Rico was removed from the UN list after the constitution was drafted.