On Monday, the Puerto Rican Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging Pedro Pierluisi’s legitimacy as governor, and attorneys submitted their arguments the following day.
Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz is arguing that Pierluisi cannot lead the island because his chamber never confirmed him as secretary of state, the job that is first in line for the governorship. The commonwealth’s constitution requires the secretary of state to be confirmed by both chambers of the legislature, but Pierluisi was sworn into that post last week and only received an affirmative vote from the House just before he took over as governor on Friday.
However, a 2005 law that says that the secretary of state doesn’t need to have received legislative confirmation from both chambers if they need to take over as governor: The plaintiffs are asking the Supreme Court to strike down this legislation as unconstitutional. While the Senate was to hold confirmation hearings this week for Pierluisi for the secretary of state’s post, they canceled them after he indicated that he’d only leave the governor’s office if the court ruled against him.
The Associated Press wrote on Tuesday that legal experts expect a decision within days, and that it can’t be appealed. Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez would become governor if the Supreme Court rules against Pierluisi.
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