Talk:Supreme Court of Puerto Rico

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Law vs. Constitution

I recently changed the opening of this article to read "The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico is the highest court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, having the ultimate judicial authority within Puerto Rico to interpret and decide questions of Puerto Rican Commonwealth law." I replaced "state law," which probably came from some sort of boilerplate for state supreme courts, with "Puerto Rican Commonwealth law." This was further modified to "..decide questions regarding the Constitution of Puerto Rico." Now I'm sure the court does deal with Puerto Rican constitutional matters but is it correct to say that it deals with simple statute law as well? Or does it only handle constitutional questions? --Jfruh 20:14, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

  • You are quite right, the Court sees cases ranging from corporate law to even tort law. Of course, these cases must first be appealed to the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals.

However, I am currently doing some research because I do think that Puerto Rican law cualifies as state law because even though Puerto Rico is not a state per se, it is nevetheless part of the federal government of the United States. There is a U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico that manages questions regarding federal law. Therefore, I assume that Puerto Rican law is deemed state law. I researching the info right now. In the meantime, I will revert the first sentence to the one you originally wrote, since the Court jurisdiction is not only within Constitutional Law.<<Coburn_Pharr>> 00:16, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

    • Check out this site (1). It says "State and Terrtorial Law" and it includes Puerto Rico and all the other territories of the U.S. In the end, it is a very interesting debate, but until I see convincing evidence, I think that, like you pointed out, Puerto Rico cannot be seen as part of the state law of the United States.<<Coburn_Pharr>> 00:28, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Within the federal system of the United States, because Puerto Rico is not a state, Puerto Rico law is not "state law." However, for many purposes, Puerto Rico commonwealth law is treated as if it were the equivalent of state law. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that in applying the Supremacy Clause, the Erie doctrine, etc., Puerto Rico law is to be treated the same as state law. The same is provided in many federal court rules. Newyorkbrad 22:07, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Earlier Supreme Court?

Puerto Rico had a Supreme Court under the Foraker Act of 1900 and the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917. This was clearly a predecessor of the current Puerto Rico Supreme Court; in fact, I am not sure that the court recognized in the Puerto Rico Constitution of 1952 is considered a new court, as opposed to a continuation of the prior court. Should the 1900-1952 era be recognized in this article? Newyorkbrad 15:37, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

    • The current Supreme Court was in fact created by the Constitution of 1952. Article V of the document clearly states so. Then-Governor Luis Muñoz Marín decided to leave in their offices the justices who served in the court prior to the constitution. However, you right, I think we should add a section that recounts some facts of the previous Supreme Court. I think it's relevant because the bound volumes of decisions is the same for both courts (DPR, Decisiones de Puerto Rico).<<Coburn_Pharr>> 19:30, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for info. I'm away from my books for the weekend but will write something up on this next week, unless someone else gets to it first. Newyorkbrad 19:32, 3 September 2006 (UTC)


The Appointments section appears biased on political issues. I know these things exist, but they should not be mentioned unless adequate sources are found. - Mtmelendez (TALK|UB|HOME) 19:52, 20 March 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone provide a link that indicates the order in which the new justices were nominated? hanncommander (talk) 21:49, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

    • I'm confused about the seniority order with the entrance of the new justices. I would have thought that when justices are sworn in on the same day, the order of seniority is determined by age. That's the way it works in SCOTUS and in many of the state Supreme Courts. However, the Justices were sworn in yesterday in the order of their experience in the lower courts. I have no idea which is the correct way. I'll see if I can call the Court tomorrow.<<Coburn_Pharr>> (talk) 21:55, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
      • In order to avoid confusion, the new associate justices were called in the order that their credentials were received from the Governor. Justice Martínez Torres (who has been an appellate judge for about 15 years) was sworn in and seated in seat #6 from left to right. Then Justice Pabón Charneco (who has been an appellate judge for 8 years) was sworn in and seated in seat #1. Finally, Justice Kolthoff (who has been a trial court judge for 3 years) was sworn in and seated in seat #7, after which Justice Rodríguez quipped that she gladly turned over the duties of junior justice to Justice Kolthoff. As in the SCOTUS, the junior justice takes notes, and does otherwise menial work when in conference. Pr4ever (talk) 01:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
        • So it's settled then. It makes sense to go by judicial experience. <<Coburn_Pharr>> (talk) 02:34, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Chief Justice table

Chief Justice Hernández Denton was appointed an associate justice in the '80's by Hernández Colón and elevated to Chief Justice in 2004 by Sila Calderón. That is not clearly portrayed in the table and should somehow be rearranged. Pr4ever (talk) 00:49, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

    • Let's try to make this clear. Hernandez Denton was elevated by Governor Calderon in 2004. The position of Chief Justice is totally different and independent from that of an associate justice. Therefore, I think the table should say he was appointed in 2004 by Governor Calderon since that is the reality of the position he currently holds. I think that mentioning the fact that he was an associate justice from 1985 to 2004 in the "prior positions" column should be enough to make clear that he's been in the court since the 1980s.<<Coburn_Pharr>> (talk) 15:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
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