Opinions

Opinions

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Department of Justice Views on the Proposed Constitution Drafted by the Fifth Constitutional Convention of the United States Virgin Islands

The following memorandum was initially drafted in the Office of Legal Counsel at the request of the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs.  It analyzes several features of the proposed constitution of the U.S. Virgin Islands (“USVI”), including:  (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 USVI’s territorial status; (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 proposed constitution's bill of rights; (8) the possible need to repeal certain federal laws if the proposed USVI constitution is adopted; and (9) the effect of congressional action or inaction on the proposed constitution.

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