Equally American Blog

  • Tenth Circuit Hears Argument on Birthright Citizenship in U.S. Territories

    Whether people born in U.S. territories have a constitutional right to U.S. citizenship will depend on how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rules following argument today in Fitisemanu v. United States.

  • DOJ Seeks to Deny Birthright Citizenship in U.S. Territories in 10th Circuit Argument

    On Wednesday, lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice will argue that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit should reverse Fitisemanu v. United States, a landmark ruling recognizing that individuals born in U.S. territories have the same right to citizenship as individuals born in the 50 states or the District of Columbia.

  • Democratic and Republican National Conventions Highlight Need for Voting Rights in U.S. Territories

    New Federal Lawsuit Will Seek to Expand Voting Rights in the Territories

  • American Bar Association Supports Equality in Federal Programs, Voting Rights for Territorial Residents

    The American Bar Association has added its voice in support of equality for residents of U.S. territories when it comes to participation in federal programs and the right to vote. This support comes through two resolutions introduced by the Virgin Islands Bar Association that were overwhelmingly adopted by the full ABA House of Delegates at this year's virtual Annual Meeting. Anthony Ciolli, past President and delegate of the Virgin Islands Bar Association, spoke in favor of both resolutions to the ABA House of Delegates and helped shepherd their passage.

  • Court Strikes Down Discrimination Against Residents of Puerto Rico in Key Federal Programs

    Today, a federal judge in the District Court of Puerto Rico ruled in Pena Martinez  v. US Department of Health and Human Services that the federal government’s exclusion of Puerto Rico residents from three major social  benefits programs is an unconstitutional violation of equal protection. This important ruling follows on the heels of the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ historic ruling in United States v. Vaello Madero earlier this year, which held that residents of Puerto Rico could not be excluded from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and a similar decision in Schaller v. U.S. Social Security Administration, which ruled the denial of SSI benefits in Guam unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to take up these issues, which impact nearly 4 million Americans living in five U.S. territories.

  • 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.

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