Suffolk University Law Review Publishes Article Co-Authored by Dana M. Hrelic on Unequal Protection Within United States Territories
U.S. territorial governments have perpetuated - and in some cases continue to perpetuate - discrimination against their own citizens based on gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, and other immutable characteristics. This Suffolk University Law Review article written by Dana M. Hrelic and Anthony M. Ciolli draws attention to the current situation in U.S. territories regarding discrimination perpetuated against women and other minority groups.
The article begins by briefly summarizing the history of federal equal protection law in territories under the common understanding of the Insular Cases and the territorial incorporation doctrine. It identifies historical and modern discriminatory practices territorial governments use against women and other minorities in voting rights and other areas and observes how territorial governments embrace Insular Cases to justify this unequal treatment. It then examines the doctrinal justification for permitting certain territorial governments to withhold fundamental rights from certain populations, and illustrates that this approach permits territorial governments to establish a third-class citizenry. The article concludes by proposing a new approach: several principles that carefully balance individual rights with the need for cultural preservation to effectively preclude territorial governments from creating third-class citizens without meaningfully compromising their ability to maintain their traditional institutions and way of life.
Read the full article below.