No taxation without representation! That was one of the major grievances the original 13 colonies of the U.S. had against England. It was one of the root causes of The American Revolution. Back in the 1750’s when this was a major slogan of the 13 colonies, England was passing all sorts of taxes and laws beneficial to England but not to the 13 colonies and the colonists had no say in the matter.

Oh, how the oppressed have become the oppressors! In the 1750’s the U.S. was a colony of England much like Puerto Rico is a colony of the U.S. today. After years of plunder by U.S. Corporations and hedge funds, Puerto Rico has a massive debt that is crippling it’s economy to the point of collapse with no way of restructuring that debt unless the U.S. allows it to go into some form of Bankruptcy. Unfortunately, Federal Bankruptcy protection is something the US specifically took away from Puerto Rico in 1984 for apparently no reason.

It’s possible that Puerto Rico could setup it’s own Bankruptcy legal procedures and they did, but the greedy hedge funds went to Federal Court to nullify Puerto Rico’s laws and won. Puerto Rico appealed twice and lost. Now the legal battle has reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Alito has recused himself. It appears he has a monetary interest in the outcome of the case. With Scalia’s passing, that leaves the court with 7 members giving it a slight liberal tilt.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court took up oral arguments in the case. Everyone familiar with the case expected Puerto Rico to lose. But it seems that one of the Justices was very vocal during oral arguments and spoke up an astonishing 45 times! She made it clear that she was advocating for the Puerto Rican defense. The Justice was Sonia Sotomayor,  the first justice of Puerto Rican descent in the history of the Supreme Court. Before Justice Sotomayor’s enlightening questioning of the lawyer representing Puerto Rico, Chris Landau, it was thought that Puerto Rico had no chance of prevailing. After her questioning, which amazingly explained the Island’s position better than it’s lawyers to the other Justices, some on the bench signaled that they were starting to see Puerto Rico’s side. Justice Kagan came out and said, “I think I get what you’re saying now, which I didn’t when I started.” Initially, Kagan started out skeptical of the Island’s position.

Puerto Rico now not only had a representative on the Supreme Court they seemed to have an advocate! An eloquent, highly intelligent and shrewd advocate. What a difference a little representation makes!


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