The Fordham Law Review at the Fordham University School of Law will be hosting a symposium entitled “An Anomalous Status: Rights and Wrongs in America’s Territories” on October 28, 2022, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm ET. The event which will be available in person and online is open for registration, and will critically examine American territory law and leave attendees with a greater understanding of and appreciation for America’s territories and the legal framework in which they operate.
More than 100 years ago, the Supreme Court issued a series of decisions collectively known as the insular Cases that held that the “half-civilized,” “savage,” “ignorant and lawless” “alien races” that inhabited Puerto Rico, Guam, and other American territories were not entitled to the same constitutional rights and protections afforded to other Americans and were not on the path to full political participation. Though the flawed reasoning of Insular Cases has long since been discredited, federal courts have continued to rely on those cases to issue decisions that result in disparate treatment of Americans residing in territories. And despite its significant presence throughout American constitutional law, essentially none of the law governing US territories is taught in law school. Hence the symposium.
The event will feature the participation of groups like Equally American, which recently fought for the Supreme Court of the United States to take up a case to consider overriding the Insular Cases. The court ultimately declined the petition to take up the case but the conversation on the matter is ongoing, especially given opinions by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor urging the court to reconsider the cases for their racist thinking.
CLE credits will be available for the event, which is also cosponsored by the Voting Rights & Democracy Project at Fordham University.