Court seems reluctant to sweep Puerto Rico into SSI program

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears reluctant to rule for a resident of Puerto Rico who claims it’s unconstitutional to be excluded from a welfare program that’s available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The justices acknowledged Tuesday that the differential treatment of Puerto Ricans might be problematic, but several suggested that it is up to Congress, not the courts, to act.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh said there are “compelling policy arguments” for including Puerto Rico in the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides benefits to older, disabled and blind Americans.

But Kavanaugh said the court had to confront a provision of the Constitution that allows Congress to treat territories and states differently.

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