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Argument Analysis: Puerto Rico — Special No More?, by Lyle Denniston, SCOTUS Blog


It doesn’t happen often, but there are times when the very last words spoken by a lawyer during a Supreme Court argument sum up very clearly what the whole hour has been about.  That happened on Wednesday, when a lawyer’s closing, plaintive comment was: ‘Please do not take the constitution of Puerto Rico away from the people of Puerto Rico.’

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That prospect was entirely opposite of what the current government leaders of Puerto Rico had sought in taking their case to the Supreme Court.  They wanted a declaration that, at least up to a point, Puerto Rico was entitled to the dignity of ‘sovereignty.’

Part of the problem in achieving ‘sovereignty,’ it appeared, is that the Court was not exactly sure what that word means. . . .  ‘