The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico denied the challenge to the status query “Statehood Yes or No” on the grounds that it is related to the result of the expression of the people expressed in the plebiscites of 2012 and 2017. (Jose R. Madera)
The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico ruled that the “Statehood Yes or No” status query may be held in the November 3 elections.
The decision of the highest judicial forum of the island arises from a lawsuit submitted by Orlando José Aponte Rosario challenging Law 51 of 2020 that authorizes the status consultation.
In its decision, the Supreme Court concluded that the consultation has a public purpose, consistent with what is provided in Article VI, Sec. 9 of the Constitution of Puerto Rico.
It was established that it fulfills a public purpose, “since it allows all Puerto Ricans, under equal conditions, to participate and express themselves in favor or against ratifying and implementing the status formula that was favored in the plebiscites held in 2012 and 2017” and exercise their right to self-determination.
In addition, the Supreme Court found that the precedent in the Báez Galib II case maintains that legislation that substantially alters Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States cannot be approved without previously obtaining the approval of Puerto Ricans.
Therefore, the court concluded that, unlike in 2000, when the case of Báez Galib II was resolved, “today there is an electoral mandate for the decolonization of Puerto Rico through the admission of the territory as a state of the Union and in favor of all legal management that advances those ends ”.
So the Supreme Court determined that the political status consultation to be carried out on November 3, 2020 is a valid and non-discriminatory mechanism, with an eminently public purpose.
It was added that the Legislative Assembly has the power to choose legitimate mechanisms to advance its objective and register the expression of the people, and that the court cannot question “the wisdom or convenience” of this legislative determination because it is a “non-justiciable political issue. ”.
Likewise, the Supreme Court determined that the law that authorizes the holding of presidential elections in Puerto Rico has a “discernible and defined public purpose.”
According to the court, “in 2017 the people expressly authorized the Legislative Assembly to approve a presidential voting law,” in line with “the electoral mandate in the 2012 and 2017 plebiscites.”
In conclusion, the Supreme Court determined that it does not correspond to invalidate the contested legislation, because that express authorization was obtained for Law No. 58-2020 in the 2017 plebiscite and that “it is in line with the aspirations that the people of Puerto Rico declared when approving his Constitution ”.