Baltasar Corrada del Río
Baltasar Corrada del Río (April 10, 1935 – March 11, 2018) was a Puerto Rican politician. 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.
Baltazar Corrada del Río
|Associate Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court|
July 15, 1995 – April 10, 2005
|Appointed by||Pedro Rosselló|
|Preceded by||Rafael Alonso Alonso|
|Succeeded by||Rafael Martínez Torres|
|15th Secretary of State of Puerto Rico|
January 2, 1993 – July 15, 1995
|Preceded by||Salvador M. Padilla Escabi|
|Succeeded by||Norma Burgos|
|Mayor of San Juan|
January 2, 1985 – January 2, 1989
|Preceded by||Hernán Padilla|
|Succeeded by||Héctor Luis Acevedo|
|Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico|
January 3, 1977 – January 2, 1985
|Preceded by||Jaime Benítez Rexach|
|Succeeded by||Jaime Fuster|
|Born||April 10, 1935|
Morovis, Puerto Rico, U.S.
|Died||March 11, 2018 (aged 82)|
Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
|Political party||New Progressive|
|Democratic (Before 1985)|
|Education||University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (BA, LLB)|
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.
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 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 was 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. He was eventually succeeded in 2009 by Rafael Martinez-Torres, appointed by a Corrada protege, governor Luis Fortuño.
Corrada last served as "of counsel" to Puerto Rico's largest law firm, McConnell Valdés, of which he had been a partner prior to holding elective office. upon 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.
He was the brother of Álvaro Corrada del Rio, Roman Catholic Bishop of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and of a Roman Catholic nun. Another of his sisters was the Puerto Rico Independence Party candidate for mayor of San Juan in 1988, when he was elected to the post. He was married to Beatriz Betances, who served as First Lady of San Juan during his term as mayor, and had one daughter, Ana Isabel, three sons: Juan Carlos, Jose and Francisco; as well as several grandchildren: James Gregg, Michael Gregg, Alexis Marie, and Mayra. In 2013 his wife died he was too ill to travel for the funeral services held in Morovis, Puerto Rico, where his ashes will be interred alongside her remains on March 24, 2018.
Baltasar Corrada del Río died on Sunday March 11, 2018 in Fort Myers, Florida at 82 years of age. By the time of his death he suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
Honors and recognitionsEdit
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, former National President of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association, participated in the First Class of 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.
- Hispanic Americans in Congress: Corrada del Río
- United States Congress. "Baltasar Corrada del Río (id: C000788)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Jaime Benítez Rexach
| Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
| Mayor of San Juan
Héctor Luis Acevedo
Salvador M. Padilla Escabi
| Secretary of State of Puerto Rico
|Party political offices|
Carlos Romero Barceló
| Chair of the Puerto Rico New Progressive Party
Ramón Luis Rivera
| New Progressive nominee for Governor of Puerto Rico
Rafael Alonso Alonso
| Associate Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court
Rafael Martínez Torres