A recent decision by a Ninth Circuit Bill Clinton appointee named comedian John Oliver‘s HBO show, Last Week Tonight as a source in its footnotes.
According to the legal blog Above the Law, Judge Marsha S. Berzon‘s decision on Paeste v. Guam, a class-action lawsuit filed against the U.S. territory by its own residents, made direct reference to the “insular cases” discussed by Oliver during his show’s popular deep dive segment on March 8.
These court cases, which occurred during the early 20th century, created a strained legal relationship between the federal government and its territories in which the latter gives more than it receives. Plus, there’s that whole matter about how Guam’s residents (and others living in U.S. territories) have no voting power whatsoever.
According to Berzon’s footnote:
We do note, however, that the so-called “Insular Cases,” which established a less-than-complete application of the Constitution in some U.S. territories, has been the subject of extensive judicial, academic, and popular criticism. See, e.g., Juan Torruella, The Insular Cases: The Establishment of a Regime of Political Apartheid, 77 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 1 (2008); Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. Territories, Youtube (Mar. 8, 2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CesHr99ezWE
For a refresher, check out the Last Week Tonight segment in question below, via HBO:
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