Check out this misnamed special issue of the Yale Law Journal on “The Law of the Territories“. (Misnamed because, despite the joint U.S.-U.K. Atlantic Charter of 1941, the United States still has several overseas colonies, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.) This special volume, however, contains only four articles:
- “Navassa: Property, Sovereignty, and the Law of the Territories” (125pp.) by Joseph Blocher and Mitu Gulati. (Navassa is a small Haitian island that is still privately owned by the United States.)
- “Aurelius’s Article III Revisionism: Reimagining Judicial Engagement with the Insular Cases and ‘The Law of the Territories’” (110pp.) by James T. Campbell. (The Aurelius case, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019, held that the members of the Puerto Rico Oversight Board were not “Officers of the United States”.)
- “The Insular Cases Run Amok: Against Constitutional Exceptionalism in the Territories” (93pp.) by Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus. (The Insular Cases were a series of controversial cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court during the early 20th century. These cases held that not all constitutional rights apply to our overseas territories.)
- “Indigenous Subjects” (107pp.) by Addie C. Rolnick. (This paper explores the rights of indigenous peoples who reside in the overseas territories.)
Alas, I hate to sound anti-intellectual, but this special issue illustrates everything that is wrong with legal scholarship. The papers are too damn long. (The shortest paper is “only” 93 single-spaced pages long!) At least now I know why my submission to this special issue was not accepted for publication, even though I was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal during the 1991/92 and 1992/93 academic years. My paper “Breaking the (Puerto Rican Condorcet) Cycle” is a measly 19 pages long.