Equally American Blog

  • Congress Holds Historic Hearing on Territorial Voting Rights

    In an historic first, the House Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Elections held a hearing today addressing the denial of voting rights in U.S. territories. Members of Congress representing the Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands all testified in support of expanding voting rights to include the nearly 4 million citizens who live in U.S. territories – 98% of whom are racial or ethnic minorities.

  • Congress to Hold Historic Hearing on Territorial Voting Rights

    On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, the House Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Elections will hold a hearing to address the denial of voting rights in U.S. territories – an historic first. While Congress has regularly held hearings addressing issues of political status in U.S. territories, never before has it held a hearing focused specifically on the issue of voting rights and disenfranchisement in these areas.

  • Equally American Calls for Human Rights Commission to Examine Disenfranchisement in U.S. Territories and DC

    Equally American and DC Vote, along with co-sponsoring organizations, have requested a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the denial of the right to political participation in U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The request highlights the disenfranchisement of the nearly 5 million Americans living in DC and the Territories – more than 90% of whom are racial or ethnic minorities.

  • Judge Rules Excluding Guam Residents from SSI Benefits is Unconstitutional

    On Friday, a federal judge ruled in Schaller v. U.S. Social Security Administration that the exclusion of Guam residents from the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits program for the blind, elderly, and disabled constitutes unconstitutional discrimination.  The decision, if upheld on appeal, would mean that Katrina Schaller, a resident of Guam who suffers from a debilitating genetic disorder, would receive the same federal SSI benefits as her twin sister, Leslie, who lives in Pennsylvania and receives $755/month in SSI payments. Leslie has filed a companion case in Pennsylvania, wanting to be able to visit her family on Guam for more than thirty days or move to Guam without loss of her benefits.

  • Equally American Calls on Congressional Leaders to Reject Insular Cases Following Supreme Court Inaction

    On Wednesday, the civil rights advocacy group Equally American urged Congressional leaders to take action to reject the Insular Cases after the Supreme Court failed to do so earlier this week in its decision upholding Puerto Rico’s undemocratic PROMESA Oversight Board.

     

  • Supreme Court Sidesteps “Insular Cases,” Hints At Future Action

    On Monday, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Presidential appointments to Puerto Rico’s PROMESA Oversight Board, but failed to use the opportunity to overrule the Insular Cases.  Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the seven-Justice majority, which reversed a unanimous decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals and held that the President is not required to obtain the advice and consent of the Senate when appointing members to the Board because they are not “officers of the United States” for the purposes of Article II of the United States Constitution.

 
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