This is something that I have been thinking after the decision from Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court based its decision on the fact that prohibiting same-sex marriages constitutes a violation of the 14th amendment, because rights were not granted to all US Citizens by equal.

As many of you know, US citizens residing on Puerto Rico do not have the right to vote on federal elections, unless they move and becomes a resident of a state. This is because Puerto Rico is a territory, not a state, and federal voting rights are granted to states. This is true for both citizens that were born on Puerto Rico, and citizens that were born on a state, but decided to move to Puerto Rico.

My point is, as US Citizens, we have the right to vote and choose the government that leads the nation. This is why I think this is a violation of the 14th amendment, because you are not granting "equal protection of the laws" to all of the US Citizens.

My question is: is this can be considered unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment?

I am not lawyer by any means, so maybe my premise is incorrect.

  • 1
    The Fourteenth Amendment talks about states (and Puerto Rico is not one), not about the federal government. "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" So I'm not quite sure how your logic comes through there? Is it by application through another amendment?
    – Calchas
    Jul 3, 2015 at 15:35
  • 1
    @Calchas you are completely right. But this brings me another question: why the the recent decision of same-sex marriage applies to Puerto Rico, if Puerto Rico is not a state? If I am correct, the Supreme Court based its decision on the Fourteen Amendment, citing that same-sex couples did not had equal protection of the laws.
    – scubaFun
    Jul 6, 2015 at 13:26
  • Ask the question :) I don't know
    – Calchas
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:17
  • God, I hope not.
    – Cicero
    Mar 29, 2016 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


The constitution "does not confer the franchise [the right to vote for President] on "U.S. citizens" but on "Electors" who are to be "appoint[ed]" by each "State". (Rosa v. United States, 417 F.3d 145 (1st Cir. P.R. 2005))

Thus, since no citizen has the right to vote for President, it isn't the case that Puerto Rico's citizens are being treated differently in this regard. It is just that Puerto Rico has no representatives in the Electoral College.

  • Are you sure no one has the right to vote for President? The 24th Amendment says "The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, ..., [isn't subject to poll taxes]." I know the effect is to say "if you let some people vote and not others, the distinction can't be for this reason," but it does refer to a right to vote for President.
    – cpast
    Jun 30, 2015 at 19:50
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    Citizens have the right to "vote in elections for President [without being subject to poll taxes]", but they can't "vote for President".
    – user248
    Jun 30, 2015 at 19:54
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    @cpast There is a misguided notion that we [citizens of the USA] vote for our presidents. This is entire false. when you vote in the elections for President, you are voting for a designated representative ( in the electoral college ) to vote for the President. Oddly there has been "Faithless elector " that voted for someone else. This was implemented before instant communication and has not been updated since then. The difference between "for" and "in" is very interesting in this case.
    – Jdahern
    Jul 2, 2015 at 22:07
  • @Jdahern I am aware of the fact that citizens do not vote directly for President. However, there is reference to a right to vote in elections for President in the Constitution, and I strongly suspect that any state that tried today to appoint its electors some other way besides popular vote would quickly find that citizens in the 50 states do have a right to vote in the elections.
    – cpast
    Jul 2, 2015 at 22:10
  • @cpast Given modern times, I don't see why people could not. As far as the right to vote "in" the election directly for the President is governed by Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution. The reference to the 24th Amendment would hardly give way to the citizens. A new amendment would need to be drafted first to allow direct voting.
    – Jdahern
    Jul 2, 2015 at 22:18

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