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WASHINGTON — Civil rights groups on Thursday asked President Joe Biden’s administration to disavow century-old Supreme Court rulings suffused with racist language that gave the government license to treat people living in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories differently than other Americans.

The 13 groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that the Justice Department should publicly condemn a series of rulings in the early 1900s called the Insular Cases.

The activists pointed to Biden’s January 2021 executive order in which he pledged to advance racial equity. Other groups signing the letter included the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Hispanic Federation, a Latino advocacy group.

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