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Originalism in Puerto Rico: Original Explication and its relation with Clear Text, Broad Purpose and Progressive Policy

Jorge Farinacci-Fernós, Georgetown University

Abstract

Originalism is neither inherently conservative nor exclusive to the United States. Puerto Rico, a self-governing U.S. jurisdiction, has been using a particular form of originalism as its main methodological tool for constitutional interpretation and adjudication since 1952. Puerto Rican originalism has several key traits. First, it's politically progressive, due to the framers' explicit progressive agenda which is palpable from the historical sources. Second, their intent is empirically verifiable, due to the formality and transparency of constitutional creation that generated a formal and elaborate record. Third, the constitutional record is considered the authoritative source of constitutional meaning. Fourth, the textual characteristics of Puerto Rican constitutionalism favor an expansive view of rights and judicial intervention. Finally, the Constitution addresses a wide list of social issues, like labor rights, that expand the view of constitutional litigation. By analyzing constitutional cases decided by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico since 1952, the Article explains the particular version of originalism practiced in Puerto Rico and its implication for both foreign and U.S. state constitutional development.

Suggested Citation

Jorge Farinacci-Fernós. 2015. "Originalism in Puerto Rico: Original Explication and its relation with Clear Text, Broad Purpose and Progressive Policy" ExpressO
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jorge_farinacci-fernos/1