Biden Nominates Judge Gelpí To First Circuit Amid Historic Insular Cases Hearing

In the hours leading to an historic congressional hearing today on the Insular Cases, President Biden nominated Chief Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí Jr., - an outspoken critic of the Insular Cases - to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit left by Judge Juan Torruella’s passing last year. Judge Torruella was himself perhaps the most vocal opponent of what he labeled as the “separate and unequal” doctrine established by the Insular Cases, so this nomination was fitting. Judge Gelpí is the author of the book The Constitutional Evolution of Puerto Rico and Other U.S. Territories (1898-Present), and wrote in a 2011 article: “[The] undemocratic predicament within a federalist government is but the historical outcome of the Insular Cases a doctrine of pure judicial invention, with absolutely no basis in the Constitution and one that is contrary to all judicial precedent and territorial practice.”  

“We applaud President Biden for nominating such an accomplished jurist to take the baton from Judge Torruella, who was a legal lion. Chief Judge Gelpí is someone who takes the Constitution seriously, and who has a deep knowledge of both law and history when it comes to Puerto Rico and other Territories,” said Neil Weare, President and Founder of Equally American, which advocates for equality in U.S. territories. “The Territories and the United States as a whole will be stronger for this nomination.”

Gonzalez_Insular_Cases_Hearing.pngPresident Biden’s announcement came just hours before the House Natural Resources Committee held a historic hearing to address House Resolution 279, which condemns the Insular Cases and calls on the federal government to finally turn the page on the controversial “territorial incorporation doctrine.”  Members of Congress representing Michigan, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and other government officials from the Guam Legislature testified on the bipartisan resolution to condemn the Insular Cases as racist and contrary to the Constitution. 

"The people of the United States must ask ourselves: who are we and who do we want to be?" Weare testified. “Do we as a nation accept or reject the colonial framework established by the Insular Cases? Condemning the Insular Cases is an important start, if only a start,” he added.  

The hearing may be viewed in its entirety here

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in Equally American Blog 2021-05-12 16:35:36 -0400