The Supreme Court of the United States has granted the US Department of Justice its request for additional time to decide whether it will support or oppose calls to overrule the Insular Cases. The Justice Department now has until Monday, August 29, 2022, to respond to the petition for certiorari in Fitisemanu v. United States—a case about birthright citizenship in US territories—which asks the Supreme Court, in part, “whether the Insular Cases should be overruled.” The Biden-Harris Justice Department relied on the Insular Cases to argue before the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that Congress has the power to deny citizenship to people born in any US territory.
Earlier this month, the Fitisemanu petitioners, through their lead counsel at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, sent a letter to the Solicitor General of the United States “to urge the government to … join petitioners in asking the Supreme Court to finally and formally overturn the Insular Cases,” noting “[t]here are overwhelming legal, policy, and moral grounds to do so.” Twenty-three Members of Congress also wrote to President Biden (D) and Vice President Kamala Harris (D) urging them “reject the Insular Cases and the racist colonial framework they invented.” A dozen civil rights groups have also called on the Justice Department “to reject the Insular Cases and the racist assumptions they represent.”
Now, a new online petition gives people the opportunity to join in calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to reject the Insular Cases and the colonial framework it established.
“If you think the Biden-Harris Justice Department shouldn’t be relying on the Insular Cases to argue people from US territories don’t have the same rights as people from other parts of the United States, we’d like to hear from you,” said Neil Weare, President and Founder of Equally American, and co-counsel in Fitisemanu v. United States. “It is simply shocking that in the year 2022 the Justice Department has yet to formally condemn the Insular Cases, which justified denying residents of US territories constitutional rights because of ‘differences of race.’”
The text of the petition is available at overruletheinsularcases.org. The US Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to take up Fitisemanu and the question of the Insular Cases this Fall.