Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez was sworn in as Puerto Rico’s new governor after its Supreme Court found the elevation of Pedro Pierluisi was unconstitutional. 

The court’s ruling ended weeks of civil unrest and political turmoil after protests erupted over the former governor’s corruption led to his resignation.  


The court wrote, “the swearing in as governor by Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi Urrutia, named secretary of state in recess, is unconstitutional.” 


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Pierluisi was named governor by the former Gov. Ricardo Roselló (R) after he was forced to resign. Pierluisi was sworn in while lawmakers were in recess. He was approved by the House but senators became upset arguing that they also needed to approve the choice. The Senate subsequently sued and won in the courts.

“The constitutional norms do not allow for absurdities and legal technicalities to contravene our Democratic System of Government,” wrote Feliberti Cintrón, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. 

Vázquez became a Justice Secretary last January and has little experience running government agencies. For the past 20 years, she has worked as an attorney in the U.S. territory’s department of justice. 

Last year, the Office of Government Ethics revised an accusation against Váquez. It said she potentially intervened in a case involving a robbery of a government home. She appeared in court for two violations, but a judge found there was no evidence. 

Roselló resigned after two weeks of protests. The protests came after text messages were discovered in which Roselló and others were founded to be mocking Hurricane Maria victims, gay people and others. Former Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín was also forced to resign.

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