Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Rossello-Gonzalez v. Calderon-Serra, No. 04-2610 (1st Cir. Dec. 15 2004)

Just received from the First Circuit the opinion in the Puerto Rico Electoral Cases taken on Mandamus to the Court of Appeals, Rossello-Gonzalez v. Calderon-Cerra, No. 04-2610 (1st Cir. Dec. 15, 2004). More on this once I read it.

Update: The opinion is a very well written. While the First Circuit denies issuance of the mandamus, the practical effect is the same, since it indicates that it expects the Court to remand the Manny Suarez case back to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico as the complaint in that case does not present a federal question. But do not confuse this for one second with the First Circuit saying the Supreme Court acted properly when it rushed to judgment, because the opinion states precisely the contrary. At n. 22, the First Circuit states:
We agree with the District Court that the Supreme Court's judgment was void. The governing statute provides that the filing of "a copy of the notice [of removal] with the clerk of [the] State court . . . effect[s] the removal and the State court shall proceed no further unless and until the case is remanded." 28 U.S.C. § 1446(d) (emphasis added). The Supreme Court received notice of the removal at 11:48 a.m. on November 20, 2004 but did not issue judgment until that evening. The judgment is thus, as the District Court found, a nullity.
(Underlining in original, bolding added). So it is hard to understand why Puerto Rico Associate Justice Jaime B. Fuster would be quoted as saying he was satisfied with the First Circuit's opinion, when it in fact states that the Supreme Court acted contrary to federal law in issuing its original decision and judgment. What the Supreme Court did speaks very badly for the respect that State and Federal Courts owe each other. It showed a majority of the Supreme Court willing to jump the gun acting along strict party lines, whereas the minority showed the restraint required -by federal law- at the time.

Beyond that, let the recount continue, and may the one who got the most legitimate votes win.