Experts See The Federal Supreme Court Unlikely To Reverse The Rule Of Law Created By Promise

Washington – Although, on occasion, Supreme Court judges questioned the broad power granted by Congress to the Board of Fiscal Oversight (JSF), it seems unlikely that the top US judicial forum will reverse the rule of law created by federal law Promise three years ago.

That was the feeling of experts in Law, politicians and even the labor leadership of the Union of Workers of the Electricity and Irrigation Industry (Utier) and the International Service Employees Union (SEIU), who witnessed the hearing on the constitutionality of the JSF.

"It was a big disappointment," said the president of the Bar Association, Edgardo M. Román Espada, when he left the court.


“I was very surprised that the plenary of the Supreme Court refused to discuss Island Cases, that is, the subordination of Puerto Rico to the United States and that the power rests with Congress. That is the fundamental issue that has affected the lives of Puerto Ricans and it is remarkable how the United States Supreme Court refused to discuss the matter, ”said Román Espada.

"This is the court that rejected our bankruptcy law and would have prevented us from having a meeting," added the leader of the College.

"Now it is not for racism, but for imperialism," said academic and constitutionalist Carlos Gorrín Peralta. He referred to the moment in which Judge Elena Kagan questioned the lawyer of the JSF and former Attorney General Donald Verrilli why justify the territorial nature of the JSF with the Northwest Ordinance if now the reality of the territories is very different from that of the United States over 200 years ago

The Northwest Ordinance is a statute through which Congress disposed of the territories near the Great Lakes and then converted them into the states in that region north of the United States.

Gorrín Peralta anticipated that, although there could be a split ruling, this case will not break the history of the Supreme Court when it comes to Puerto Rico. To date, never in history, the highest judicial forum has revoked a law passed by Congress for the territory of Puerto Rico.

Gorrín Peralta, an expert in Constitutional Law, as well as political-legal relations between the island and the United States, said he was struck by Judge Stephen Breyer, whom he described as an ally of an idea other than the State being produced Free Associate, he seemed to agree when Chief Deputy Attorney Jeffrey B. Wall argued in favor of the JSF.

Yesterday, for the third time in less than four years, the Supreme Court held an oral hearing in order to determine if the directors of the JSF are senior federal officials and should have been nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the Senate, according to provides the appointment clause. Or if, on the contrary, the seven-member agency is made up of territorial officials dedicated exclusively to Puerto Rican affairs and therefore could be appointed without going through federal legislative scrutiny.

After the hearing of about 77 minutes, several of the attendees interviewed by this newspaper indicated that the refusal of the judges to discuss the doctrine of Island Cases was anticipated, while the slight mention of the de facto doctrine during the argument point to that the Supreme Court could give the reason to the JSF in the dispute initiated by Aurelius Investments and Assured Guaranty.

"The Utier did what every Puerto Rican should do, defend the interests of the country against an anti-democratic and unconstitutional fiscal control board for our purposes," said the leader of that guild Angel Figueroa Jaramillo.

“Our lawyers did all the work. Now, it's up to the Supreme Court to validate its Constitution or continue to allow a colonial system of slavery like the one that has been with Puerto Rico for more than 118 years, ”said the leader of the Utier.

According to Figueroa Jaramillo, regardless of the decision made by the Supreme Court, the union will continue to advocate for workers, as well as with its educational campaign so that people understand the effects of the measures imposed by the JSF to Puerto Rico.

For former Governor Alejandro García Padilla, it was expected that the Supreme Court would not give way to the discussion of Island Cases because the controversy before them is a purely bankruptcy issue.

"Nobody would think that because, in 2014, this court resolved the case of NML Capital on Argentina's debt, that Argentina is a colony of the United States," Garcia Padilla said, criticizing that in the public discussion in Puerto Rico will distort the dispute between Aurelius and the JSF to insert the controversy of the colonial status of Puerto Rico.

To questions from this newspaper about the suitability of the JSF for the island, based on the cuts imposed by the tax agency, García Padilla – who advocated the approval of Promesa – argued that Puerto Rico would face “a real chaos” without the statute federal.

"To Puerto Rico, a Title III was convenient without the Board, but the Board was imposed as a condition for Title III," said García Padilla. "I do not agree with the measures imposed by the Board and I believe that the debt cuts are timid, but without the protection of Title III, the chaos would be real because there would be no money to sustain the country's operations," he said. former governor.

The next step

For the president of the JSF, José B. Carrión, his battery of lawyers was successful.

"Our lawyers communicated our position very effectively," Carrion said, being optimistic that they will prevail against Aurelius, Assured and Utier.

"We know here, and as Puerto Ricans know, that there are other 'issues' behind what we are discussing, but our concern is restructuring and the fiscal issue," said Carrión, noting that if there were an adverse decision on the part of the Supreme could go to work three years of work.

"We are close to getting Puerto Rico out of bankruptcy," Carrión added.

After the First Circuit of Appeals determined the unconstitutionality of the JSF, President Donald J. Trump appointed Carrion and his counterparts, and referred his appointments to the US Senate to terminate their respective mandates. That mandate expired on August 30 and still that branch of government has not attended to such designations.

Thus, regardless of what the Supreme Court may conclude, it remains to be seen whether the current appointments would continue in the federal Senate or if President Trump would make new appointments.

Carrión accepted El Nuevo Día that a new Board would not have to accept or give continuity to the agreements agreed by the presiding tax agency.

“Not everyone who is on the board today might want to stay, even if the president wanted to nominate them. Therefore, in this scenario, a new Board will come, ”Carrión said, stressing that the key in the dispute with Aurelius, Assured and Utier is to ensure that Puerto Rico does not expose itself to losing what, in its judgment, are achievements in the restructuring process.

"We continue working, we are pleased that everything seems to indicate that the actions and agreements (with the JSF) that were previously reached would not be invalidated and we are very satisfied with that," said the executive director of the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agency ( Aafaf), Omar Marrero.

The government argued in writing its support position in favor of the JSF.

"We are confident in our position and have to follow this process," said the government representative to the JSF, Elí Díaz Atienza, who anticipated that the government will continue with the negotiation of other credits such as those of the University of Puerto Rico and the Authority of the Ports, among others.

Beyond the technicalities around the federal or territorial nature of the JSF, for Alvin Velázquez, representative of the SEIU and member of the Committee of Unsecured Creditors (UCC), the case discussed yesterday pays nothing in the table of narrowness that Puerto Rico deals with.

“I think this is a terrible thing. No matter the outcome of this case, Puerto Rico goes bankrupt again, between five and 10 years, because debt restructuring is not enough, ”Velázquez said.

According to the union lawyer, the agreements granted by the JSF to the bondholders are “very generous”, which will force the preparation of an adjustment plan, since he thought that what was agreed to date will not allow Puerto Rico to “lift another time".



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

33 − 32 =