Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Puerto Rico Supreme Court Rejects Seeing Rossello’s Case

By on July 20, 2021

The Puerto Rico Supreme Court rejected seeing the case that requested the disqualification of former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s electoral victory as a congressional delegate, upholding a Court of Appeals decision that has up to now favored the former governor’s position.

Although the Supreme Court could be asked for a reconsideration, the Court of Appeals revoked a district court decision to disqualify the former governor because Rosselló’s residency requirement had not been met. 

The Supreme Court decided not to see the case in its merits during a special session composed by Chief Justice Maité Oronoz Rodríguez, and Associate Justices Mildred Gail Pabón Charneco, Edgardo Rivera García, Roberto Feliberti Cintrón, and Luis Estrella Martínez.  

The justices considered that the Court of Appeals decision was “substantially correct.” However, Associate Justice Estrella Martínez issued a dissenting opinion that highlighted the importance of defining a candidate’s residency, irrespectively of his popularity, as in the case of Rosselló. 

The Puerto Rico Court of Appeals had revoked a decision by a San Juan District Court judge who disqualified Rosselló as a delegate, determining that the first decision had been “premature” and “without jurisdiction.”

Rosselló garnered the most write-in votes in an election held in May in which voters chose six delegates to lobby at federal Congress for Puerto Rico’s annexation as the 51st state of the union.

But the petition centered on the issue of Rosselló’s eligibility, the lack of clarity regarding whether the former governor could claim his residence to be in Puerto Rico or in the mainland U.S. and if the ambiguity could lead to electoral victories that had to be accepted without clarifying a candidate’s residence.

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