High court upholds ruling that cleared Rosselló’s path to DC post

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an Appeals Court ruling that allowed former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares to take over a position as congressional delegate with the responsibility of lobbying for statehood.

The Supreme Court decision, which was issued in a special summer court session, said the Appeals Court ruling “was substantially correct.”

Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodríguez said she differed from the majority opinion, which she said should have referred the controversy to the full Supreme Court because it was a novel dispute. Associate Justice Luis Estrella Martínez issued a dissenting opinion.

The summer court session comprised Oronoz Rodríguez, Estrella Martínez, Associate Justice Mildred Pabón Charneco, Associate Justice Edgardo Rivera García and Associate Justice Roberto Feliberti Cintrón.

The resolution states that the original suit was filed by Nelson Rosario Rodríguez, in his official capacity as electoral commissioner of the Dignity Project, a minority political party. It also lists Gerardo Cruz Maldonado, in his capacity as electoral commissioner of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP); Francisco Rosado Colomer, in his official capacity as president of the State Elections Commission; Roberto Aponte Berríos, in his official capacity as electoral commissioner of the Puerto Rican Independence Party; Olvin Valentín Rivera, in his official capacity as electoral commissioner of the Citizens Victory Movement; and Vanessa Santo Domingo, in her official capacity as electoral commissioner of the New Progressive Party.

On June 30, San Juan Superior Court Judge Rebecca de León disqualified Rosselló as a congressional delegate for statehood, but the Court of Appeals overturned that decision, saying it lacked jurisdiction over the case.

Subsequently, the outgoing PDP electoral commissioner, Cruz Maldonado, filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to revoke the Court of Appeals ruling and later, Rosario Rodríguez also filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.

In a May special vote to select congressional delegates to lobby for statehood after that status received a majority of votes in a Yes-No statehood referendum, Rosselló was chosen after receiving more than 70,000 write-in votes.

The special election was held nearly two years after Rosselló became the first governor of Puerto Rico to step down amid continuous protests demanding his resignation, following the release of a group chat between himself and top members of his cabinet that many deemed to contain questionable language and admissions of questionable government actions.

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