Baltasar Corrada del Río

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Baltasar Corrada del Río
Corrada.jpg
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
In office
1977–1985
Preceded by Jaime Benítez
Succeeded by Jaime Fuster Berlingeri
Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 1985 – January 2, 1989
Preceded by Hernán Padilla
Succeeded by Héctor Luis Acevedo
Secretary of State of Puerto Rico
In office
1993–1995
Preceded by Salvador M. Padilla Escabi
Succeeded by Norma Burgos
Personal details
Born (1935-04-10) April 10, 1935 (age 79)
Morovis, Puerto Rico[1]
Political party New Progressive Party
Spouse(s) Beatriz Betances
Profession Lawyer

Baltasar Corrada del Río (born April 10, 1935 in Morovis, Puerto Rico) is a former politician from Puerto Rico. He held various high political offices in the island, including President of the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Commission, Resident Commissioner (1977–1985), Mayor of the capital city of San Juan (1985–1989), Puerto Rico's 15th Secretary of State (1993–1995) and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1995–2005). He was also the unsuccessful NPP candidate for Governor in the elections of 1988.

Education[edit]

Corrada del Río obtained his high school diploma from Colegio Ponceño de Varones in 1952, and both his Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies in 1956 and his Law Degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1959. He was admitted to the Puerto Rico Bar that year and practiced as a private lawyer from 1969 to 1975.

Political career[edit]

In 1976, after initially expressing an interest in becoming Mayor of San Juan and running in an unofficial internal primary within the NPP, Corrada del Río was elected Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. During his tenure (1977–1985), he advocated for the admission of Puerto Rico into the Union and co-founded the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Corrada served as Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 1985 to 1989.

In the elections of 1988, Corrada made an unsuccessful bid to become Governor of Puerto Rico. He was defeated by incumbent Governor Rafael Hernández Colón.

In January 1993, Pedro Rosselló became Governor and appointed Corrada as Puerto Rico's 15th Secretary of State. Later, in 1995, Rosselló appointed Corrada as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. He took the oath of office on July 15, 1995, after unanimous confirmation in the Senate of Puerto Rico. During his tenure as Associate Justice, Corrada was among the moderate/conservative voices in the Court, usually adhering to strict interpretations of the Constitution while practicing a firm type of judicial restraint.

The Constitution of Puerto Rico mandates an obligatory retirement for the Justices of the Supreme Court at age 70. Corrada arrived at this age in April, 2005, and was forced to retire. Prior to his retirement, Corrada publicly asked for an amendment to the Constitution that would repeal the obligatory retirement age for the justices, arguing that by obligating people to retire the constitution is discriminating by reason of age. At the time of its enactment in 1952, the average life expectancy in Puerto Rico was 61 years, 9 less than the mandatory retirement age. In 2013, the mandatory retirement age is 9 years less than the average life expectancy of 79.

The Court seat left vacant by Corrada remained vacant until 2009. Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá did not nominate anyone for the position after then-Senate President Kenneth McClintock made it clear in his inaugural speech as Senate president in 2005 that only a well-qualified statehooder would muster the votes for Senate confirmation to Court seats previously held by statehooders in order to assure "balance" on the bench.

Corrada currently serves as "of counsel" to Puerto Rico's largest law firm[citation needed], McConnell Valdés, of which he had been a partner prior to holding elective office. Since his retirement from the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, he announced that he would abstain from political activity for one year, and on March 14, 2006 announced that within a month would begin attending New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico meetings, as former party president, to provide discrete advice. He also publicly disagreed with then-party president Pedro Rossello by objecting to the expulsion of then-Senate President Kenneth McClintock and then-Vice President Orlando Parga from the party for refusing to turn over the Senate presidency to Rossello. The expulsion was later revoked by the Supreme Court.

Personal life[edit]

He is the brother of Álvaro Corrada del Rio, Roman Catholic Bishop of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. He is married to Beatriz Betances and has one daughter, Ana Isabel, three sons: Juan Carlos, Jose and Francisco; as well as several grandchildren: James Gregg, Michael Gregg, Alexis Marie,and Mayra.

Honors and recognitions[edit]

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) issued a medal honoring Corrada and three other founding members.

In 2010, former Puerto Rico Secretary of State McClintock designated the department's summer internship program as the Baltasar Corrada del Río State Department Internship Program. Distinguished students such as Josue Rivera, participated in the First Class interns.

On November 24, 2010 a ceremony was held at the Puerto Rico Department of State to announce the publication of Baltasar Corrada Del Río-Sus opiniones 1995-2005 a book containing excerpts from 61 of his Supreme Court opinions edited by Pontifical Catholic University Law School dean Angel González Román, at which Acting Governor Kenneth McClintock and Chief Justice Federico Hernandez Denton were the keynote speakers.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jaime Benítez
Resident Commissioner to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Puerto Rico

1977-1985
Succeeded by
Jaime Fuster
Court offices
Preceded by
Rafael Alonso
Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico
1995-2005
Succeeded by
Rafael Martínez Torres