Civil rights groups are challenging a series of racist U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have been used for over a century to legally justify discrimination against people in Puerto Rico and other U.S.-occupied territories. The rulings are known as the Insular Cases and have allowed the federal government to deny Puerto Ricans living on the island voting rights, access to public social programs like Medicaid and food stamps, and other equal protections guaranteed to those residing on the mainland. The renewed effort to overturn the Insular Cases comes after the Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration to continue denying Supplemental Security Income benefits to seniors and people with disabilities living in Puerto Rico. We speak with Lía Fiol-Matta, senior counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF, which is helping to lead the new campaign, and with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, who has long reported on this issue. “The Insular Cases established a doctrine that has no constitutional basis,” says Fiol-Matta.
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