The U.S. Virgin Islands will be celebrating the 63rd anniversary of Carnival. The theme for this year is “Culture…
Attorney Komives has presented a clear and quite compelling argument for citizens of the Insular Territories to enjoy the right to vote in national elections. There can be little question that those who crafted the earlier Supreme Court decisions regarding the Territories and their peoples did, in fact, base those decisions on outright racist and sexist beliefs that have no bearing today. Based upon that alone, the citizens of the Territories should have their full civil rights, including the right to vote for President and to elect voting representatives to Congress, granted by either Supreme Court decree and/or Constitutional Amendment.
However, those rights will, most probably, come at some financial cost to the Territories.
Currently, we in the Territories do not pay Federal taxes on alcohol, tobacco, gasoline and other items. We also receive millions of dollars annually from the rum cover tax rebate. It is my understanding that we are exempt from these taxes and fees because we cannot vote in Federal elections - there can be no "taxation without representation", and our Delegate cannot vote in Congress. This seems to me to be in accordance with issues first raised at the famous Boston Tea Party (no relation whatsoever to the so-called "Tea Party" political folks) and later court decisions. Thus, we reap the benefits of Federal handouts while paying no Federal taxes other than individual income tax. Can the Territories afford to give up this largess in exchange for our full civil rights? I'm not sure, but it bears thinking about while considering the issue.
Please note that I am not a Constitutional scholar, attorney or even trained in the Law - these are just my observations based on what little I learned in public school decades ago. I would be most interested to know what Attorney Komives, or any other person knowledgeable in Constitutional law has to say regarding this.