Puerto Rico takes step toward having reps
A 25 year old fight to get Puerto Rico to have proportional representation in Congress, had a quiet breakthrough recently, with the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston Massachusetts agreeing to consider whether the case should be heard, reversing the US District Court’s ruling throwing out the case.
A dogged attorney from Puerto Rico who has been fighting for years to get his homeland five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives says he is as close as ever to victory after a decision by a federal appeals court that could allow his arguments to move forward.
“It recognizes the merits of our claim, and they found that what I said was right,” said Gregorio Igartua, the attorney who brought the suit. “This is the closest we have been to having representation. We are American citizens, and we deserve this right.”
A three-judge panel of the Boston-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Wednesday agreed to have the full court decide whether Igartua’s claim should be decided by a lower court in Puerto Rico. If the full panel of judges sides with Igartua, he will be able to argue that Puerto Ricans have been unconstitutionally deprived of representation.
Circuit Judge Kermit V. Lipez called Igartua’s crusade “laudable” in his 24-page decision, and said that in the past, the court “failed to appreciate the strength” of Igartua’s claim that his case should be heard.
This step notwithstanding, the case faces an uphill battle since for Igartua’s claims to be considered valid, the courts would likely have to disregard the precedent set by the racist Insular Cases rulings, assuring this would need to go all the way up to the US Supreme Court to be decided.