The only dissenting justice was once Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor, whose folks had been born in Puerto Rico, opined that there’s no “rational foundation” for Congress to disclaim Supplemental Safety Source of revenue advantages to U.S. electorate who are living within the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
The Very best Courtroom has upheld the government’s differential remedy of citizens of Puerto Rico, discovering that Congress has the authority to withhold vital advantages to be had to United States electorate residing in different portions of the rustic.
In line with The Related Press, the Very best Courtroom dominated 8-1 that Puerto Ricans are ineligible for the Supplemental Safety Source of revenue program, which gives money and scientific advantages to aged, disabled, and blind American citizens.
Whilst nearly all of the bench held that the denial of such advantages isn’t unconstitutional, Justice Sonia Sotomayor—whose folks had been born and raised in Puerto Rico—dissented.
“In my opinion, there’s no rational foundation for Congress to regard needy electorate residing anyplace in america so another way from others,” Sotomayor wrote, noting that, whilst Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and maximum of its citizens are U.S. electorate, the island hasn’t ever been afforded illustration in Congress. “To carry another way, because the Courtroom does, is irrational and antithetical to the very nature of the SSI program and the equivalent coverage of electorate assured by way of the Charter.”
NBC Information notes that Supplemental Safety Source of revenue advantages are ordinarily to be had to U.S. electorate residing within the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands, however no longer those that are living in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guam and American Samoa.
In courtroom filings, the Justice Division noticed that Puerto Ricans are “in most cases exempt from maximum federal taxes, together with the source of revenue tax, excise taxes, and property and present taxes.”
Writing for almost all, Justice Brett Kavanaugh discovered that “simply as no longer each federal tax extends to citizens of Puerto Rico, so too no longer each federal advantages program extends to citizens of Puerto Rico.”
On the other hand, Puerto Ricans nonetheless pay federal payroll taxes, which might be used to fund methods like Medicare and Social Safety.
Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, has already criticized the Very best Courtroom’s ruling, announcing in a Spanish-language remark that the justices have most effective additional emphasised that the “territorial standing of Puerto Rico is discriminatory for Americans at the island,” permitting “Congress to do no matter they would like with us.”
“Obviously our other people, in particular probably the most inclined, undergo the effects of this unequal remedy,” Pierluisi added.
Jennifer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s non-voting consultant in Congress and a member of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood political birthday party, additionally blasted the Very best Courtroom ruling, calling the exclusion “incredible discrimination” that helps to keep 300,000 American citizens in poverty.