Resource: Puerto Ricans: The Inequality of Equals through Time

By: Rene Pinto-Lugo

November 1, 2015

Revista Juridica de la Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico

Since 1901, a series of United States Supreme Court decisions known as the Insular Cases, reflect the interpretation, at different times after the U.S. occupation of Puerto Rico in 1898, of the extent to which the Constitution of the United States applies to its possessions/territories. Essentially, the Insular Cases decide that only fundamental constitutional rights extend to unincorporated United States territories, whereas in the incorporated territories all constitutional provisions are in force. This article revisits the Insular Cases doctrine in light of Korematsu v. United States (1944); Brown v. Board of Education (1954); Obergefell v. Hodges (2015); and Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). It concludes that the progression of the law and the interpretation of the constitution in the pursuit of justice for all, warrant Puerto Ricans, as U. S. citizens, the fair and equal protection and democratic participation under the law as it equally pertains to all other U.S. citizens, leaving aside the considerations of incorporated v. unincorporated territorial classifications.