International Conference at Yale Law School to Debate The Future of Puerto Rico and Other Territories

Prominent politicians, judges and scholars will gather at Yale Law School to debate the future of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, Friday and Saturday, March 27-28.

Titled “Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Reflections on the Centenary of the United States’ Acquisition of Puerto Rico,” the conference marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. acquisition of its unincorporated territories in 1898 and explores options for the future. The recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to hold a referendum in Puerto Rico later this year makes the conference especially relevant. If approved by the U.S. Senate, the referendum will give citizens of Puerto Rico an opportunity to vote for continued Commonwealth status, statehood or independence.

The conference is sponsored by Yale Law School and the University of Puerto Rico School of Law.

“One hundred years later, we are still wrestling with troubling legal and constitutional questions surrounding the status of Puerto Rico and the other unincorporated U.S. territories,” said Anthony T. Kronman, dean of Yale Law School. “This timely event brings together some of the nation’s foremost authorities on the subject for what promises to be a stimulating exchange of information and ideas.”

Participating speakers include Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Rossello; former Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon; Ruben Berrios Martinez, president of the Independence Party; the Honorable Juan R. Torruella, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; the Honorable Jose A. Cabranes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh; Jeffrey Farrow, director of the White House Inter-Agency Group on Puerto Rico; and Jose Trias Monge, former Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. Professors Mark Tushnet (Georgetown University Law Center); Sanford Levinson (University of Texas at Austin Law School); Gerald Neuman (Columbia University School of Law); and David M. Helfeld (former dean, University of Puerto Rico School of Law), are among the panel participants who will discuss the constitutional aspects of the territorial issue.

In addition to Dean Kronman, Yale faculty participants include Akhil Reed Amar, Owen M. Fiss, Harold Hongju Koh, Juan J. Linz, Burke Marshall, Judith Resnik and Rogers M. Smith.

In conjunction with the conference, the Yale University Sterling Memorial Library will display an exhibition of maps, photographs, and documents about the Spanish-American War, “Insular Views 1898: The U.S. Imperial Imagination in Image and Text.” The exhibit will run from March 27-April 10 in the Yale Memorabilia Room.

Conference panels are free and open to the public. A fee will be charged for meals. Participants are requested to register by contacting Yale University Conference Services at (203) 432-0465. For additional conference information, call (203) 432-4858, ext. 1.

For media inquiries, contact Elizabeth Stauderman at (203) 432-8464.

Conference Program

Friday, March 27

Insular Views: The U.S. Imperial Imagination in Image and Text, an exhibition of Sterling Memorial Library holdings relating to the Spanish American War. In the Yale Memorabilia Room, through April 10.

Reception, 3:00 p.m. P Yale Memorabilia Room, Sterling Memorial Library Welcome: Natalia Martin, dean of Students, Yale Law School Opening remarks: Antonio Garcia Padilla, dean, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Panel 1, 4:00-6:00 p.m. P Lecture Hall, Sterling Memorial Library Sovereignty Under Scrutiny: National Identity and Territorial Status in the Post-Colonial World

Panelists:

Roberto Aponte Toro, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Ruth Lapidoth, Hebrew University, Faculty of Law

Arnold Leibowitz, author, “Defining Status: A Comprehensive Analysis of United States Territorial Relations” (1989)

Juan J. Linz, Yale University, Departments of Sociology and Political Science

Moderator: Rogers M. Smith, Yale University, Department of Political Science

Dinner, 7 p.m. - Quinnipiack Club

Recovering the Historical Imagination: Puerto Rico and the United States, 1898-1998

Welcome: Christina D. Burnett, Yale Law School ‘98

Opening remarks: Dean Anthony T. Kronman, Yale Law School

Speaker: The Honorable Jose A. Cabranes, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Moderator: Harold Hongju Koh, Yale Law School

Saturday, March 28

Breakfast, 8-9 a.m. - Yale Law School Dining Hall

Speaker: Ruben Berrios Martinez, senator, Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly, and president, Partido Independentista Puertorriqueno (Independence Party)

Moderator: The Honorable Jose A. Cabranes

Panel 2, 9:15P11 a.m. P Yale Law School, Room 127

More or Less Perfect Union: United States Territories in the National Context

Panelists:

Nell Jessup Newton, American University, Washington College of Law

E. Robert Statham, Jr., University of Guam, Political Science Department

Richard Thornburgh, United States Attorney General, 1988-91; Governor of Pennsylvania, 1978-86

Ruth Van Cleve, former director, Office of Territorial Affairs (1964-69, 1977-81)

Moderator: Burke Marshall, Yale Law School

Panel 3, 11:15 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Yale Law School, Room 127

Following the Flag: United States Territories in the Constitutional Context Panelists:

Sanford Levinson, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Gerald Neuman, Columbia University School of Law

Efren Rivera Ramos, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Mark Tushnet, Georgetown University Law Center

Moderator: Judith Resnik, Yale Law School

Lunch, 1:15-2:15 p.m. - Yale Law School Dining Hall Speaker: Rafael Hernandez Colon, former governor of Puerto Rico and former president, Partido Popular Democratico (Commonwealth Party)

Moderator: The Honorable Jose A. Cabranes

Panel 4, 2:30-4:15 p.m. - Yale Law School, Room 127

A Part Apart: Puerto Rico in National and Constitutional Contexts Panelists:

David M. Helfeld, former dean, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Ivette Ramos Buonomo, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

The Honorable Juan R. Torruella, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

The Honorable Jose Trias Monge, former Chief Justice, Puerto Rico Supreme Court (1974-85)

Moderator: Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law School

Panel 5, 4:30-6:30 p.m. - Yale Law School, Room 127

Puerto Rico and the United States, 1998 and Beyond

Panelists:

Jose Julian Alvarez Gonzalez, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Jeffrey Farrow, director, White House Inter-Agency Group on Puerto Rico

Bertram P. Finn, president, Equivest Capital Corporation

Angel Oquendo, University of Connecticut School of Law

Blanca Silvestrini, University of Puerto Rico, Department of History

Moderator: Owen M. Fiss, Yale Law School

Dinner, 7:00 p.m. - Omni Hotel at Yale

Speaker: Governor Pedro Rossello, Partido Nuevo Progresista (Statehood Party)

Moderator: The Honorable Jose A. Cabranes

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325