Puerto Rico Oversight Board to continue until high court ruling

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The Puerto Rico Oversight Board will continue unless and until the Supreme Court rules otherwise.

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled Tuesday that the members of the board can continue in their role until the Supreme Court rules on a challenge to their appointment.

The board’s seven members were appointed on Aug. 31, 2016, for three-year terms following the provisions of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act. However, in mid-February of this year the First Circuit Appeals Court ruled that the PROMESA appointment procedures were unconstitutional.

The court ruled that the current board could continue to operate as a board through mid-May so as to give the president and Senate time to approve board members using the standard nomination process. Since then, the court agreed to extend the deadline to July 15.

On June 18 President Donald Trump nominated the current board members to serve until Aug. 31.

On June 20 the Supreme Court said it would review the First Circuit’s decision.

On Tuesday the First Circuit said the board members can continue to operate in their positions until the Supreme Court issues a ruling on the First Circuit decision.

The cases under consideration are Financial Oversight Board v. Aurelius Investments, et al.; Aurelius Investment LLC, et al. v. Puerto Rico; Official Committee of Debtors v. Aurelius Investment, et al.; United States v. Aurelius Investments, et al.; and Union de Trabajadores de la Industria Electrica y Riego v. Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, et al.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the cases on an expedited basis and will hear the cases in October, the next month it is hearing cases. It is unclear when it will ultimately render a decision but it would be before the end of June 2020.

According to Amy Howe in a post on the SCOTUSblog website, by accepting all the petitions for certiorari, the Supreme Court agreed not only to review the constitutionality of the appointments but also whether the board’s decisions since its appointment are valid, which the First Circuit found.

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