Wednesday, June 30, 2010
President Obama on Wednesday signed Senate Joint Resolution 33, which sends the proposed constitution the U.S. Virgin Islands back to the USVI Constitutional Convention for reconsideration in light of Justice Department concerns about it. We previously posted on those concerns--and the history of USVI constitutionalism--here. The Resolution also establishes procedures for Presidential review of the reconsidered constitution.
The Joint Resolution is designed "[t]o provide for the reconsideration and revision of the proposed constitution of the United States Virgin Islands to correct provisions inconsistent with the Constitution and Federal law." What are those offending provisions? According to the Resolution (and taken word-for-word from the first paragraph of the OLC opinion, discussed in the link above):
(1) the absence of an express recognition of United States sovereignty and the supremacy of Federal law;
(2) provisions for a special election on the terroritorial status of the United States Virgin Islands;
(3) provisions conferring legal advantages on certain groups defined by place and timing of birth, timing of residency, or ancestry;
(4) residence requirements for certain offices;
(5) provisions guaranteeing legislative representation of certain geographic areas;
(6) provisions addressing territorial waters and marine resources;
(7) imprecise language in certain provisions of the bill of rights of the proposed constitution;
(8) the possible need to repeal certain Federal laws if the proposed constitution of the United States Virgin Islands is adopted; and
(9) the effect of congressional action or inaction on the proposed constitution.