Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court Gains New Rival: Governor Garcia Padilla Tuesday June 18th, 2013 at 11:05 AM Politic365

Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court Gains New Rival: Governor Garcia Padilla

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Puerto Rico’s ruling party, the Popular Democratic Party, lost little time in delivering a first strike against the opposition party dominated Supreme Court when it enacted Act 18 of 2013, aimed at limiting the Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction and right to review appellate cases by interlocutory petitions. The legislative strike came at a time when several public employees filed a lawsuit challenging Governor Garcia Padilla’s public pension reform. Under Act 18, parties could no longer certify a case straight to the Supreme Court from the Court of First Instance, while avoiding the intermediate court under the special writ of certification. The challenge to the pension reform quickly rose to the Supreme Court who in turn, gave Governor Garcia Padilla a 6-3 strike down.
The Court, strictly on party lines, ruled that Act 18 was unconstitutional in the manner that its limitation of the Court’s jurisdiction went beyond what the Constitution allows for. In a decision filled with strong jabs from each side of the aisle, the Court admonished the Governor for trying to curtail its jurisdiction in what the majority saw was a political attack. Governor Garcia Padilla, who is an attorney, criticized the Court, going as far as calling them “enemies of Puerto Rico”. While the Puerto Rico State Bar chose to remain silent as to the Governor’s unprecedented attack on the Court, Pedro Pierluisi (Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner) came out against the Governor, calling for respect to our Court amongst whatever disagreement one may have. Following the Court’s decision, the PPD’s Party Secretary vowed to present a bill to undue the Court’s recent expansion under Governor Luis Fortuño. The bill would reduce the Court to its size prior to the 2010 expansion (from 9 to 7), effectively eliminating the last two justices appointed to the Court under Governor Fortuño. The bill ignores the fact that the Constitution of Puerto Rico only allows for the change in size of the Court at the petition of the Court, followed by the corresponding legislative action.
In another strike against the Court, Governor Garcia Padilla doubled down on his attack on the Court, claiming that it alone would be to blame if Puerto Rico’s credit rating was downgraded to junk as a result of a hypothetical strike down by the Court of Governor Garcia Padilla’s pension reform bill. The attack is misplaced given that the Court is not responsible for decades of borrowing with no sensible repayment plan in sight, but it (the attack) plays well on the PPD’s more combative wing, which strongly opposes the Statehood party appointed majority in the Court.
As Governor Garcia Padilla (and his PPD dominated legislative majorities) strive to keep the house in order, amidst an economy in recession dipping into depression and less income to tax in order to balance (or try to) the budget, more attacks on the Court can be expected. The Supreme Court gives the PPD the perfect scapegoat as it’s the only branch in government which they do not control and has enough power to throw a major road block on Governor Garcia Padilla’s legislative plan.
Supporters of the Statehood party, on the other hand, will be forced to defend the Court’s majority at all times, given that the Court will now symbolize the last bastion of power held by the Statehood party for the next four years. If the Court does strike down the pension reform bill, it would galvanize both sides of the aisle. The PPD would move to further demonize the Court while the Statehood party praise the Court’s move given its opposition to the pension reform bill.
As the political battles on the Island ensue, the Court will become a more prominent target from the PPD, and its legitimacy will continue to be attacked by those in power.
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Prensa Latina News Agency - UN Committee to Ratify Puerto Rican Right to Independence

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Escrito por Raquel Maria Garcia Alvarez   
lunes, 17 de junio de 2013
UN Committee to Ratify Puerto Rican Right to Independence17 de junio de 2013, 00:05United Nations, June 17 (Prensa Latina) The UN Decolonization Committee is expected to discuss today the case of Puerto Rico and reaffirm the inalienable right of its people to free self-determination and independence.
Diplomatic sources told Prensa Latina that the meeting will study a draft resolution ratifying that Caribbean country as a Latin America and Caribbean nation with its own unmistakable national identity.
The draft resolution also urges the US Government to assume its responsibility to favor a process that allows the Puerto Rican people to fully exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.
The draft resolution, presented by Cuba, denounces actions perpetrated against pro-independence fighters in Puerto Rico and demands from US authorities the devolution of all land occupied in Puerto Rico and facilities in Vieques and Ceiba.
It also demands from President Barack Obama the release of Puerto Rican prisoners Oscar Lopez Rivera and Norberto Gonzalez Claudio.
The Cuban initiative asks the UN General Assembly to examine thoroughly and carefully the Puerto Rican issue.
The decolonization committee has agreed 31 resolutions and decisions on the Puerto Rican issue, the latest 13 of them presented by Cuba and adopted by consensus.
According to a communiqué from the Cuban permanent mission to the UN, the presentation of the new draft resolution shows Havana's commitment to the Puerto Rican people and their patriots who fought for self-determination and independence.
Modificado el ( lunes, 17 de junio de 2013 )
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Prensa Latina News Agency - Cuba Defends Puerto Rican Self-Determination at UN

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Imagen activa17 de junio de 2013, 15:14United Nations, June 17 (Prensa Latina) Cuba presented today at the United Nations a draft resolution that reaffirms Puerto Rico's inalienable right to self-determination and independence.
The text was put to the consideration of all 29 member countries of the UN decolonization committee by Cuban permanent representative to the UN, Rodolfo Reyes.
The Cuban diplomat recalled that the Puerto Ricans' right has been recognized since 1972 in 31 UN resolutions and decisions.
However, he lamented the little progress registered for a final solution to the colonial situation, so that the Puerto Ricans can freely determine their political status and materialize their political, economical, social and cultural dreams.
He said, though, that so many years of colonial dominations have not been enough to snatch from the people their culture, identity and national emotions.
"This shows the Puerto Rican people's unwavering vocation of independence," said Reyes.

Comité de Descolonización aprobó resolución sobre Puerto Rico

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