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Puerto Rico Statehood vote
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:39 pm    Post subject: Puerto Rico Statehood vote Reply with quote

Here's the story from the Politico:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36380.html

From the article:


Quote:
A vote on the future of Puerto Rico has created a rift in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with two of the most prominent Hispanic members of Congress lining up against a House bill while the Puerto Rico delegate backs the legislation.


Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat and one of the most prominent Puerto Ricans in Congress, along with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), have been outspoken in their opposition to the legislation, which would mandate a vote on the island on whether residents want to change their governing status as a commonwealth.


Yet Democrat Pedro Pierluisi, the Puerto Rican delegate to Congress, campaigned on giving the island’s residents this vote on their future relationship with the United States. He has bipartisan support in Congress for the Puerto Rican Democracy Act, and his Republican governor is on board. He got more than 1 million votes in his election in 2008. Opponents, he said, are just “rehashing” an election he already won.


His message to Velazquez and Gutierrez?


“Elections have consequences,” he told POLITICO on Monday.


The Puerto Rico bill is an arcane piece of legislation in a year of drastic overhaul in Washington, and it is flying under the radar while financial regulatory reform consumes most of the attention span of Congress. Democrats lost an initial vote on financial reform on Monday.



Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36380.html#ixzz0mOzEzrms


Well, what do you think. The 51st state?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're already part of the US as a commonwealth?

If so, and provided they meet the criteria for statehood, it should be up to the residents to vote whether or not they want it, surely?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but see, Av, everybody in Puerto Rico speaks Spanish. We can't have a state whose residents don't speak English, can we? Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought PR has voted against it every time they have had a chance to join.
Something about higher taxes and the loss of aid or something?
Was I misinformed on this?
I have no idea.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wikipedia to the rescue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_status_of_Puerto_Rico

So anyway, the language thing is only one part of the problem. A lot of Puerto Ricans feel like they live in a separate country from the US, and would rather separate the way the Phillipines did. Some do want statehood.

I guess in the last pleibescite, there were four choices: statehood, independence, continued commonwealth status, and none of the above -- and none of the above got a plurality. Laughing

But none of the pleibiscites held to date have been binding on the US Congress. So basically they've been debating this thing in Puerto Rico for the past 100 years and Congress hasn't had to deal with it.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Up to Puerto Rico and congress I guess.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar,

Avatar wrote:
They're already part of the US as a commonwealth?

If so, and provided they meet the criteria for statehood, it should be up to the residents to vote whether or not they want it, surely?

--A


That's correct PR is a territory of the U.S. What's interesting is that PR has held plebacites regarding statehood several time. Each time Statehood narrowly lost. In each of the other plebacites there were three options, Statehood, Commonwealth, or independence. If I understand correctly the issue here is that some legislators believe the vote is rigged in favor of statehood by allowing Puerto Ricans who are now residents of other U.S. States (with full voting rights there) to vote on the question of Puerto Rico's status.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/28/puerto-rico-deserves-better/

From the op-ed:

Quote:
The single worst part of H.R. 2499, dubbed the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, is that it would allow former Puerto Ricans to vote in a pro-statehood advisory referendum even if those former residents are already registered voters in a U.S. state. Instead of voting "early and often," this might be called the "vote here, there and everywhere" stratagem. It is fundamentally undemocratic at its core.

At its root, the bill is deliberately designed to unfairly make it harder for Puerto Rico to keep its current status as a territory with special benefits rather than as a state. It does so by setting up a complicated two-step voting process that helps proponents of all other options - statehood, full independence or some sort of weird hybrid - gang up against the option of remaining as a territory. Several previous referenda have shown that the option of remaining a territory is the first choice of a plurality of Puerto Rico's residents, but this system effectively would take that first choice off the table.


Additionally, there are political considerations. PR is likely to put two new senators into the Senate favorably disposed toward Democratic agendas as such the Republicans may disfavor the bill.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, only those who live there should be able to vote about it.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar,

Agreed. I'm curious to see how the congressional vote goes today. Puerto Rico has been in a sovereignty void for some time now. However, I do find it interesting that under current U.S. Constitutional interpretation if it has a plebicite choosing to leave now it can, but if it achieves Statehood and then holds a plebicite to leave it cannot.

What part of the U.S. Constitution states explicitly a State cannot choose to leave the Union?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
Avatar,

Agreed. I'm curious to see how the congressional vote goes today. Puerto Rico has been in a sovereignty void for some time now. However, I do find it interesting that under current U.S. Constitutional interpretation if it has a plebicite choosing to leave now it can, but if it achieves Statehood and then holds a plebicite to leave it cannot.

What part of the U.S. Constitution states explicitly a State cannot choose to leave the Union?


Actually, I don't think it does. I really should memorize that thing.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith,

Yes. And when a power is not granted to the Federal Government and not denied to a State it is retained by as State. See U.S. Const. Amend X. Therefore, States should retain the sovereign power to leave the Union.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh, I thought they put a stop to that with the Civil War? Laughing

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar,

That's the Supreme Court's position. An argument to force.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Argumentum ad baculum? Are you serious? The Supreme Court says that if anybody tries to secede, they'll sic the army on them? Laughing That's hilarious. Is that even legal? Laughing (I mean, is it a legally recognised argument/justification?)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar,

That's pretty much it. See Texas v. White
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar,

Here's more on Texas v. White:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White

From the link:

Quote:
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.[emphasis added]


Thus they don't say "if you secede we'll shoot you." They say, "If you attempt to secede it must be a contest of arms."
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
Avatar,

Here's more on Texas v. White:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White

From the link:

Quote:
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of fnord government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.[emphasis added]


Thus they don't say "if you secede we'll shoot you." They say, "If you attempt to secede it must be a contest of arms."

hmmm...that sounds like if other states decide to let them go, they can. I wonder if that would be a simple congress majority, or like a constitional amendment 2/3rds of congress, and 3/4 of states ratifying...or vice versa.
When I lived on Cape Cod, statehood had pretty harsh partisans on both sides, nothing like a consensus or even simple majority among that admittedly small sample. [there are a lot of people from Puerto Rico there, or there were in the 80's anyway]
edited for typo.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith,

The catch is there is nothing in the Constitution that requires the assent of the other States for a State to choose to leave the Union. My position is that secession is a retained power under the 10th Amendment.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
Vraith,

The catch is there is nothing in the Constitution that requires the assent of the other States for a State to choose to leave the Union. My position is that secession is a retained power under the 10th Amendment.

Oh, you may well be right...I can certainly see the logic of it [just re-read the 10th, to make sure].
I was just pointing out that the court decision disagreed with you, but also seems to leave a loophole that would allow secession [by a much more difficult route, of course].
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith,

Vraith wrote:
SerScot wrote:
Vraith,

The catch is there is nothing in the Constitution that requires the assent of the other States for a State to choose to leave the Union. My position is that secession is a retained power under the 10th Amendment.

Oh, you may well be right...I can certainly see the logic of it [just re-read the 10th, to make sure].
I was just pointing out that the court decision disagreed with you, but also seems to leave a loophole that would allow secession [by a much more difficult route, of course].


Wow. I'm used to the internet version of screaming fits when I present the 10th amendment as evidence for the retained power of secession.

I'm actually a little frightened by your ready agreement.

Wink
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