New Online Petition Allows People to Call on the Biden-Harris Administration to Reject the Insular Cases

Justice Department Now Has Until August 29th To Either Support or Oppose Calls to Overrule the Insular Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the Biden-Harris Justice Department its request for additional time to decide whether it will support or oppose calls to overrule the Insular Cases. The Justice Department now has until Monday, August 29, 2022, to respond to the petition for certiorari in Fitisemanu v. United States - a case about birthright citizenship in U.S. territories – which asks the Supreme Court, in part, “whether the Insular Cases should be overruled.” The Biden-Harris Justice Department relied on the Insular Cases to argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that Congress has the power to deny citizenship to people born in any U.S. territory.

Earlier this month, the Fitisemanu petitioners, through their lead counsel at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, sent a letter to the Solicitor General of the United States “to urge the government to … join petitioners in asking the Supreme Court to finally and formally overturn the Insular Cases,” noting “[t]here are overwhelming legal, policy, and moral grounds to do so.” Twenty-three Members of Congress also wrote to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris urging them “reject the Insular Cases and the racist colonial framework they invented.” A dozen civil rights groups have also called on the Justice Department “to reject the Insular Cases and the racist assumptions they represent.” 

Now, a new online petition gives people the opportunity to join in calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to reject the Insular Cases and the colonial framework it established. 

“If you think the Biden-Harris Justice Department shouldn’t be relying on the Insular Cases to argue people from U.S. territories don’t have the same rights as people from other parts of the United States, we’d like to hear from you,” said Neil Weare, President and Founder of Equally American, and co-counsel in Fitisemanu v. United States. “It is simply shocking that in the year 2022 the Justice Department has yet to formally condemn the Insular Cases, which justified denying residents of U.S. territories constitutional rights because of ‘differences of race.’”

The text of the petition is included below and is available at

This summer the Biden-Harris Justice Department faces a stark choice: support or oppose calls for the Supreme Court to overrule the racist Insular Cases.

The Insular Cases are a series of century-old, racist decisions that established a colonial framework of “separate and unequal” status for people living in U.S. territories. As a result, the 3.6 million people who live in five U.S. territories today continue to be treated like second-class citizens, while at the same time being denied their right to self-determination and decolonization. This means being denied equality in federal social safety net programs like SSI, Medicaid, and SNAP, while at the same time lacking any vote in the federal laws they must follow.

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently called the Insular Cases “both odious and wrong” and conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch stated that they “rest on a rotten foundation.” Both declared it was time to finally overrule the Insular Cases.

The Insular Cases were decided by nearly the same Court that decided Plessy v. Ferguson - the case that justified racial segregation in the United States. They are grounded in the same discredited notions of white supremacy.

Despite this, the U.S. Government still relies on the Insular Cases to enforce the colonial status quo.

Leading civil rights organizations and others are calling on the Biden-Harris Administration to live up to President Biden’s promise that “there can be no second-class citizens in the United States of America” by condemning the Insular Cases and the colonial framework they established.

Sign this petition to call on the Biden-Harris Administration to condemn the Insular Cases and dismantle the colonial framework they established. 

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to take up Fitisemanu and the question of the Insular Cases this Fall. 

More about the campaign to overrule the Insular Cases is available here.

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published this page in Equally American Blog 2022-07-26 15:06:17 -0400