Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)
The “Insular Cases,” decided in 1901 by the same Supreme Court that upheld segregation laws, have no place in modern day America. In these cases the Supreme Court calls people living in U.S. territories “alien” and “savage and restless people,” antiquated notions of racial inferiority that should not be the basis of any contemporary court decisions. The Resolution I introduced, along with Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas, and Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett recognizes these racist and imperialist assumptions for what they are. H.Res 641 rejects the Insular Cases and affirms the importance of equal rights for Americans everywhere, even in the U.S. insular areas. Nor is this just a feel-good resolution. This month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of appointments to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. Our resolution is a warning to the Court not to use the Insular Cases to base its judgement.