The United States Supreme Court has issued.a ruling that upholds Puerto Ricans' exclusion from the social benefits program
SCOTUS rejected a bid to extend a federal program offering benefits to low-income elderly, handicapped, and disabled as it applies to residents of Puerto Rico. This finding says that Congress had the authority to prevent those living in the American territory from receiving the assistance.
The majority of the justices ruled 8-1 in favor of President Joe Biden's administration, reversing a lower court's ruling that a 1972 decision by Congress to exclude Puerto Rico from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program violated a U.S. Constitution requires that laws apply equally to everyone.
Congress can exclude residents of Puerto Rico from some federal disability benefits available to those who live in the 50 states, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Supreme Court leaves Puerto Rico in territorial limbo. https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/3459327-supreme-court-leaves-puer…
The 8-1 opinion was written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting. The case concerned Supplemental Security Income which is available to those living in the 50 states who are older than 65, blind or disabled. But residents of Puerto Rico and other US territories are excluded from receiving the funds.
"In devising tax and benefits programs, it is reasonable for Congress to take account of the general balance of benefits to and burdens on the residents of Puerto Rico," Kavanaugh wrote. "In doing so, Congress need not conduct a dollar-to-dollar comparison of how its tax and benefits programs apply in the States as compared to the Territories, either at the individual or collective level."
Sotomayor, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, penned the sole dissenting opinion. "Equal treatment of citizens should not be left to the vagaries of the political process," she said.
"Because residents of Puerto Rico do not have voting representation in Congress, they cannot rely on their elected representatives to remedy the punishing disparities suffered by citizen residents of Puerto Rico under Congress' unequal treatment," Sotomayor wrote.
SCOTUS upholds PR exclusion from benefits
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Court upholds Puerto Ricans’ exclusion from benefits program https://apnews.com/article/us-supreme-court-health-district-of-columbia…
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