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2018

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Puerto Rico And The Right Of Accession, Joseph Blocher, Mitu Gulati Jan 2018

Puerto Rico And The Right Of Accession, Joseph Blocher, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

On June 11, 2017, Puerto Rico held a referendum on its legal status. Although turnout was low, 97% of ballots favored statehood, rather than independence or the status quo. The federal government, however, has financial and political reasons to resist this preference: Puerto Rico would bring with it a massive, unpayable debt, and the potential to swing the current balance of power in Congress.

The tension between Puerto Rico’s possible desire to pull closer to the mainland and Congress’s presumptive desire to hold it at arm’s length raises at least two important legal questions. Could Congress expel Puerto Rico by …