Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Most but not all federal laws apply to Puerto Rico. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the U.S., federal laws include statutes that are periodically codified in the U.S. Code. Federal laws also include decisions by courts that interpret federal laws. Finally, federal laws include regulations issued by federal administrative agencies to implement federal laws. You can explore federal laws and related resources by visiting the federal law section of the Justia site.
The territory of Puerto Rico also has its own laws. Puerto Rico laws include the Puerto Rico Constitution, laws passed by the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly and periodically codified in the Laws of Puerto Rico, and decisions by courts that interpret Puerto Rico laws.
Ratified in 1952, the Puerto Rico Constitution contains nine articles. Most of the articles describe the framework of government in Puerto Rico, but Article Two outlines numerous individual rights. This Bill of Rights resembles the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. Article Seven provides the process for amending the Puerto Rico Constitution. An amendment must be proposed in the Puerto Rico legislature, and it will appear on a ballot if two-thirds of the members of each chamber of the legislature vote in its favor. No amendment may abolish the Bill of Rights.
Puerto Rico laws are often interpreted by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico and the Court of Appeals of Puerto Rico. The federal Puerto Rico District Court also issues decisions that may affect Puerto Rico residents. The First Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by the Puerto Rico District Court. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the First Circuit or from the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico.