The borders of Washington, D.C.

The borders of Washington, D.C.

Off the radar but inside the corridors of the U.S. Capitol an attempt to give the nation’s capitol city, Washington, D.C., voting representation in Congress has been raging.  Supporters of voting representation in the House of Representatives for the Americans living in D.C. fall into two camps: those who seek full statehood for the District of Columbia with all of the rights statehood would provide, and those who just want a Congressman of their own to represent D.C. interests in the House. The latter group have enlisted the help of a somewhat unlikely ally in the form of the State of Utah.

The challenges of granting statehood for the District of Columbia are tremendous as the U.S. Constitution places some very tough requirements for adding an amendment and there are only four ways that a constitutional amendment can be added:

  • Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
  • Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
  • Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
  • Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)

The Founding Fathers made it difficult to amend the U.S. Constitution because they wanted to ensure that such additions were made only when the greatest numbers of people agreed, thereby safeguarding the Constitution as much as possible from immediate, but short-lived, political concerns.

Click to continue reading “Voting Rights for D.C. Take a Step Forward”

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In 1952 Puerto Rico entered the Promised Land as a Commonwealth of the United States with all the hopes and dreams of finally having an organized government and the opportunity to become a full-fledged state of the most powerful country on the planet; and yet, unlike Alaska and Hawaii, Puerto Rico has not completed its path to Statehood. Five decades of uncertainty as a colony of the United States under its flag were made official, but those five uncertain decades were followed by five more of legal uncertainty under a pair of flags that are supposed to represent the liberty and pursuit of happiness for all Puerto Rican citizens. How Puerto Rico has ended up in this pseudo-quagmire somewhere in between a commonwealth of the United States, full statehood, and even an independent nation in its own right is a long story with many twists and turns.

After being invaded and conquered by the American Army in 1898, which ended 400 years of Spanish rule over the island, Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States with political structures yet uncertain, and in many ways, they remain that way today.

Click to continue reading “Puerto Rico Statehood: To Be or Not To Be?”

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Anibal Acevedo Vila, Former Governor of Puerto Rico

Anibal Acevedo Vila, Former Governor of Puerto Rico

Sometimes how the United States Government works may seem a little cumbersome to those of you who live in the fifty states. But if you think some processes are a bit fuzzy on the mainland, they’re even more muddled for disputes between the United States and it’s commonwealths and territories who lack full representation in Congress and the same rights and privileges as the states.

This week, in the Federal Court for the District of Puerto Rico, the matter of United States of America v. Anibal Acevedo Vila, et als, takes center stage. Acevedo Vila is the former Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, who served from 2004 until 2008.

The Case
Anibal Acevedo Vila was the Governor of Puerto Rico from 2004 to 2008, and was the Resident Commissioner from 2000 to 2004.  The Resident Commissioner is the elected official that represents the interests of Puerto Rico in the United States Congress.  For the last three years of his Gubernatorial term, he was the target of a Federal Investigation that included a review of his college transcripts, and the Law Review articles that he wrote.

Click to continue reading “The Pseudo-Republican Form of Government Within Puerto Rico”

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