Article IV, Section 3 of the original 1787 U.S. Constitution delegates to Congress the power to admit new states into the union. Pursuant to this constitutional provision, Representative Darren Soto (pictured below) recently introduced a bill in Congress authorizing the admission of Puerto Rico as a new U.S. state. (Here is the complete text of Soto’s statehood admission bill.) Although we support statehood for Puerto Rico, we are writing this post to point out a potentially glaring omission in Soto’s bill: it does not repeal the Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act (Public Law 600), which ratifies Puerto Rico’s current constitutional status as a territory. If you wish to dig deeper into the politics and history of the island’s territorial status, check out this scholarly paper by Peter J. Fleiss titled “Puerto Rico’s Political Status under Its New Constitution.” In any case, this problem can be easily fixed with some more careful legislative drafting.
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