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The New Judiciary Act of Puerto Rico: A Definitive Court Reorganization (with William D. Rogers), 61 Yale Law Journal 1147 (1952)


Under the impact of a unique indigenous spirit of reform during the last decade, Puerto Rico has become a truly exciting laboratory for social experimentation. The bold attempt to achieve rapid industrialization of its business and commercial life, dramatized under its slogan "Operation Bootstrap," marked a new era in the economy of the country. The considerable success of this venture, with its particularly intriguing use of taxation or tax-exemption as an assisting prop, has received wide comment. Now governmental developments are keeping pace. Under grant of authority by Congress, the first governor to be elected by the people of Puerto Rico in place of presidential appointment, Luis Munóz Marin, took office on January 2, 1949. A new constitution, adopted in the Constitutional Convention of Puerto Rico pursuant to congressional authority, was approved by the people and accepted by Congress in 1952. It creates a new body politic known in Spanish as "El Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico," and in English as "The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico," comprised of people who are citizens both of the United States and of the island commonwealth, and having powers different from, and in some respects greater than, either a territory or a state. It is only natural that innovation in judicial administration should accompany these novel developments. The Judiciary Article of the new Constitution, Article V, drafted after consultation with many leaders of American constitutional thought, represents an advanced outpost in judicial administration in this country. It states as its basic provision: "The courts of Puerto Rico shall constitute a unified judicial system for purposes of jurisdiction, operation and administration." Supplementary provisions grant full authority to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico to adopt not merely "rules for the administration of the courts," but "rules of evidence and of civil and criminal procedure"; and they command that "the Chief Justice shall direct the administration of the courts," with the assistance of "an administrative director" appointed by him.

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The New Judiciary Act of Puerto Rico: A Definitive Court Reorganization (with William D. Rogers), 61 Yale Law Journal 1147 (1952)

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