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Tue Oct 15, 2019, 02:34 AM

In Historic Case, U.S.S.C. to Decide Whether U.S. Territories Should be Allowed to Govern Themselves

The Revised Organic Act of 1954 gave U.S. Virgin Islands residents the right to choose their own government. A similar law was passed for Puerto Rico in 1947 by the U.S. Congress giving the people of the commonwealth the right to elect their own governor, among other leaders.

But that freedom will be put to the test this week, as the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled, beginning Tuesday, to decide whether the U.S. territories should select their own chief executives. The court is not expected to reach a decision soon, however, according to the Scotus blog, “we can be sure that lawyers, law professors and the bond markets, as well as residents of Puerto Rico, will all be waiting anxiously for the result.”

Residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories will also be paying attention to the decision, as the outcome will impact all U.S. territories.

According to the New York Times, the highest court of the land is being asked to decide whether a constitutional provision that ordinarily limits Congress applies when Congress legislates for a territory. That provision, the appointments clause, requires all “officers of the United States” to be appointed by a specified procedure, typically by the president with Senate confirmation. Because of this clause, it would be unconstitutional for Congress to allow voters to elect the attorney general or secretary of state; those officers must be appointed and confirmed. But on the assumption that the appointments clause doesn’t apply to territories or the District of Columbia, Congress allowed for the election of Puerto Rico’s governor in 1947 and the district’s mayor in 1973 (along with similar allowances in other U.S. territories, including the Revised Organic Act of 1954 for the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Read more: https://viconsortium.com/breaking-news/in-historic-case-u-s-supreme-court-to-decide-whether-u-s-territories-should-be-allowed-to-govern-themselves/

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