Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less


with 4 comments

Total Black: $3,301.65
Total Red: $243,714.55

I’m starting to feel more and more like an “inhabitant” of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  And with it come the accompanying pains. 

Officemate has been talking my ear off these past few days about the constitutional status of the Virgin Islands and how United States case law operates here, in the past referring to people as “inhabitants,” most notably in the Insular Cases—although those cases were decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1901, well in advance of the United States’ purchase of the Danish West Indies in 1917.  The conclusion of the highest court of the land was that territories of the United States can belong to the country but not have the constitutional protections—at least not without congressional grant. defines “inhabitant” as akin to a permanent resident.  As if they weren’t citizens.  As if they weren’t here first.  And in some ways, the treatment of territorial citizens still seems as an inhabitant of the United States.

And I’m seeing some of that now: websites that don’t allow “VI” as one of the state’s available in the list of abbreviations in the drop-down box.  Or even better—those that reject my zip code all-together.  FedEx and UPS shipping here per “international” rates even though the United States Post Office

Netflix won’t stream here.  They’ll send DVDs through the mail—how much does that cost and how much saved versus online streaming—but they won’t allow steaming here.  I’m outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.  So I decided to call: I spent twenty minutes on the telephone, speaking with a customer service representative who informed me that she was grateful for my “feedback” and would pass it along.  I replied that I wasn’t providing feedback but wanted an answer to my question, why the United States Virgin Islands was considered outside the United States.  I asked for someone I could follow-up with but was told there wasn’t such a person.  Really?  I can’t believe no one at Netflix can speak to the corporation’s decisions not to include the Virgin Islands and all it’s IP addresses within its definition of the “United States.”

Same goes with but there they say you’re outside the United States and its territories.  Am I now?

I tried to order a copy of the recently-released updated Bluebook, a legal citation reference book.  They don’t ship to post office boxes and don’t allow VI as a state.  I emailed the Harvard Law Journal to complain and was told those orders have to be processed manually since their website orders are processed using UPS and the cost to ship to the Virgin Islands is prohibitive.  It wouldn’t be if we weren’t “inhabitants” out here.

No change to total black or total red.

4 Responses

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  1. Dude, I liked your (written) entries but you never write anymore and all we get are updates on your income to debt ratio. What’s happening?


    June 17, 2010 at 16:26

  2. He just basically turned his life upside down and moved from one of the most urban cities in the world to something…well, quite not like that.

    Things will get going again eventually…



    June 17, 2010 at 17:05

  3. Thanks. As T-Bag noted—just running a bit behind. Posts lower down on the main page have been updated, so I’m averaging at least one to two updates a day. Getting there but it takes a while to wield my craft. 😉 I hope to push out a few more tonight.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    June 17, 2010 at 19:57

  4. The companies are right: the Virgin Islands are outside of the US proper. The VI are an “organized unincorporated territory”.


    June 30, 2010 at 12:09

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