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Selective Incorporation and the Question of the Status of U.S. Territories

Thu, August 31, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Parc 55, Mission I


“Selective Incorporation and the Question of the Status of U.S. Territories,”
Charles R. Venator-Santiago, Associate Professor of Political Science & Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies, University of Connecticut,
At least two interpretations of the doctrine of territorial incorporation are presently subject to debate. One interpretation suggests that the doctrine of territorial incorporation treats unincorporated territories as possessions external to the United States for constitutional purposes. Or, some scholars argue the doctrine does not create an “extraconstitutional” status, but rather empowers Congress and the courts to selectively extend or withhold applicable constitutional provisions and thus to selectively ascribe different territorial statuses to unincorporated territories. Drawing the legislative histories of the relationship between the US and Puerto Rico, the paper explains how the “selective incorporation” interpretation accounts for the contradictions in recent debates over Puerto Rico’s status over the extension of civil rights (Puerto Rico v. Sanchez-Valle), current legal debates over its finances (Puerto Rico v. Franklin California; PROMESA), and extension of the Presidential vote.