Governor Says Puerto Rico enjoys more self-governing powers than 50 states
SAN JUAN—A ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Gustavo Gelpí shows that Puerto Rico has more self-governing powers than those enjoyed by the 50 states Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said Wednesday.
Such remarks come in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Pueblo vs. Sánchez Valle stating that Puerto Rico does not a separate sovereignty from that of the United States.
“Today, [U.S.] federal Judge Gustavo Gelpí ruled in the case of U.S. vs Santiago Colón, Criminal Num. 15-936 (GAG), that a determination by a Puerto Rico court about the admission of certain evidence related to the identification of the accused, prevents federal courts from reconsidering the decision in a federal indictment. The ruling, issued in the norm of Puerto Rico vs. Sánchez Valle, shows that our unique relationship with the United States under the commonwealth status has more powers than those enjoyed by the states,” the governor said in a statement.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan explained in the Sánchez Valle case that starting in 1952 became a new entity closely associated with the United States but govern according to its own constitution. While she found that Puerto Rico does not have a separate sovereignty, she said that Puerto Rico has a distinct statute and self-government, the governor said. The Sánchez Valle case ruled that a person convicted of a crime by a federal court cannot be convicted for the same crime by the local courts.
“If the analysis to the double jeopardy question would have been about the sovereignty currently enjoyed by Puerto Rico, clearly the result would have been that Puerto Rico is a sovereign different from the United States,” the governor said. The Sánchez Valle ruling stated that Puerto Rico did not have a separate sovereignty because the source of its powers comes from the same sovereign, which is the United States, he said, adding that the ruling also implies that Puerto Rico has more powers than the other 50 states before the federal government.