Why Won’t the Biden Administration Join Gorsuch in Seeking To Overrule These Racist SCOTUS Precedents?
Between 1901 and 1904, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a series of cases, collectively known as the Insular Cases, which asked whether the Constitution should fully apply to the residents of Puerto Rico and other territories recently acquired by the U.S. after its victory in the Spanish-American War. The Court held that the Constitution did not fully apply in those U.S.-held territories.
The Insular Cases have been severely criticized—then and now—for being the product of racist and imperialist thinking. The legal scholar Walter F. Pratt Jr., author of The Insular Cases: The Role of the Judiciary in American Expansionism, described the legal arguments involved as “largely racially motivated,” since the Court effectively held that “the people of the new territories were unfit to become citizens.”
A similar criticism of the Insular Cases was recently voiced by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who argued that “the Insular Cases have no foundation in the Constitution and rest instead on racial stereotypes. They deserve no place in our law.”
Gorsuch’s characterization is apt. Take the case Dorr v. United States (1904), which asked whether the constitutional right to trial by jury should exist in the Philippines. The Court said no, observing that “the uncivilized parts of the archipelago were wholly unfitted to exercise the right of trial by jury.”
Article from Reason.com