Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court Rules Pierluisi Unconstitutionally Sworn In As Governor

Updated at 2:55 p.m.

Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that Pedro Pierluisi was unconstitutionally sworn in as governor last Friday.

The court has ordered Pierluisi to resign by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Judge Rafael Martinez Torres said a 2005 legislative amendment to the law of succession, called Law 7 — which allows only one chamber of Puerto Rico’s Congress to unilaterally approve the secretary of state becoming governor — violates the commonwealth’s constitution.

As a result, the Supreme Court voided Perluisi’s swearing-in because he was not previously confirmed as secretary of state by both Puerto Rico’s Senate and House. Only the House of Representatives weighed in.

Pierluisi was nominated as secretary of state by former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who resigned last Friday amid public protests and a scandal over a thread of homophobic and misogynistic texts.

Pierluisi said previously he would respect whatever ruling was made.

The island’s constitution calls for the secretary of state to be the first in the line of gubernatorial succession. The next person in the constitutional line of succession is Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez, who has stated she had “no interest” in assuming the post.

But on Wednesday, Vázquez issued a statement saying she will comply with the order of succession.

“Puerto Rico needs certainty and stability,” she wrote, adding that she is acting out of “deference and respect” to the Supreme Court ruling.

Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, who represents the island in the U.S. Congress, similarly echoed calls for stability.

“It is important to restore credibility in Washington by showing that we are able to govern ourselves according to our own Constitution,” González said in a statement.

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