U.S. Constitution Guarantees Republican Form of Government to Each State

Source: U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief (PDF).

The brief makes an argument not otherwise presented in the Texas election lawsuit now on the SCOTUS docket. The essence of it is:

  • Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution states “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.”
  • A republican form of government requires that election results be determined solely on the basis of legal votes.
  • The defendant states have counted illegal votes in the elections they administered.
  • Therefore, the defendant states have violated the Constitution’s Guarantee Clause.

The brief goes on to explore the question of whether SCOTUS should intervene (violating the principle of federalism under which the states normally would be left to solve their own problems). It asserts, however, that the defendant states acted like a cabal or oligarchy (not like republics), thwarting the guarantee. Hence, SCOTUS intervention is both appropriate and necessary. Moreover, SCOTUS intervention is consistent with the original intent of the Framers.

I find the amicus brief compelling. There are probably many ways SCOTUS can reject the substantive argument, but federalism in my view shouldn’t be one of them. State sovereignty isn’t perfect or complete, and should not extend to “do whatever we want” governance.

24 thoughts on “U.S. Constitution Guarantees Republican Form of Government to Each State

      1. RE: “‘Coup’ attempt on the face of it. 106 traitors in Congress.”

        Interesting assertion. How do you substantiate it?


  1. “Personally, I find the amicus brief compelling”

    Of course you do! But, guess what? It isn’t. It is intellectual and legal garbage.

    First, a “a republican form of government” has nothing to do with voting. Ask any “originalist.” It was a statement that no state in the United States would be allowed to become a monarchy. Voting is not an inherent feature of a republic. For example, a republic might be established where the power of government is given each year to people chosen by lot.

    Second, this “compelling argument” rests on facts not in evidence . . . that “illegal votes” were counted. You do not get to base legal arguments on “alternative facts.” Not yet, anyway.

    Besides, who determines what is a “legal” and “illegal vote,” anyway. Donald Trump? Uh, no. That would be the states. And the states have made that determination when they certified their vote tallies.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A Republican form of government is not just about a monarchy. That’s a simplistic dictionary argument.

      As understood by the framers, it meant that the States would have a government with powers and limitations set by a constitution ratified by its people.

      The basis of the suit is that those states did not follow their own constitution, In the case of MI, the State legislature violated its constitution by making changes that its constitution requires be made by amendment. In the other three, the Executive and judicial branches made changes that their constitutions reserved to the legislative branch.

      The correctness of the plaintiff’s claim is public record.. The violations are black and white. the problem is what remedy can be applied that protects the rights of citizens who cast unlawful votes in good faith.


      1. Uh, the dictionary definition of the word “republic” is not “simplistic.” It simply is the definition. The country was created in a rebellion against monarchy. THAT was the opposite of “republican form of government.” Pretending that the Founding Fathers were seeing it in terms of “legal” and “illegal” votes is utter nonsense. These are people who thought that only the prosperous could take part in elections.

        Your arguments fall into the same category as this amicus brief – intellectual and legal garbage. The “violations” which you say are black and white are purely imaginary. And even if they be real, there is no role for SCOTUS to overrule the states’ adjudication of those supposed violations. None.

        You do not “guarantee a republican form of government” by tossing an election. You do that by sending in federal troops to remove a wannabe monarch. THAT is what they were talking about. Not your Libertarian mantra.


        Liked by 2 people

    2. RE: “First, a ‘a republican form of government’ has nothing to do with voting.”

      Irrelevant. Voting is how the defendant states practiced a republican form of government, but the allegation is that they did so in a corrupt manner.

      RE: “Second, this ‘compelling argument’ rests on facts not in evidence…”

      Also irrelevant. The facts in evidence are contained in the original suit. An amicus brief needn’t repeat them.

      RE: “Besides, who determines what is a ‘legal’ and ‘illegal vote,’ anyway?”

      Texas, and the 15 or more states joining its suit as co-plaintiffs, are asking SCOTUS to make that determination. The significance of the amicus brief is that it argues the states do not have total soveriengty to make that determination.


        1. “Hopeless” and clueless.

          I continue to get an education about the manner in which the human mind can be “captured” and succumb to an insanity that has virtually no relationship to the actual reality that it exists within. It is extremely depressing/concerning, but explains the rise of the Nazism which I never could (before) comprehend.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. RE: ” YOU made the distinction between “legal” and “illegal” votes being the crux of the argument.”

          Nope. The authors of the the original suit and the amicus brief make that distinction. In fact, that’s the question at issue.


  2. “The defendant states have counted illegal votes in the elections they administered.”

    Wow. Calling citizens who have the right to cast their votes and be counted and calling them illegal is quite the stretch. The sates changed procedures, which is within their rights to do, to better serve and protect the voting public during a major pandemic. Yet you and the Trump world views those protections of voters as a form of fraud? Uh-Uh. 18 attorney’s generals and 106 members of Congress are kissing Trump’s 239 lb. backside because they FEAR his voters. Well, they should fear the voters who didn’t vote for him. Oh, wait. According to the suit and your pretzel logic they are illegal.

    Besides, how many seats did the GOP maintain (and gain) that would be tossed out in those elections? Nose off to spite face? “Mr. Trump, we’re gonna fight for you even if we lose our elections in the process.” I don’t see how JUST the votes for POTUS can be invalidated without also invalidating the results down ballot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “The sates changed procedures, which is within their rights to do, to better serve and protect the voting public during a major pandemic.”

      SCOTUS has already ruled, in a different matter, that the Constitution prevails, pandemic or not.


    1. You might notice, in your own source, that the appeal still has a status of “pending.” Only the request for injunctive relief was denied.


    2. No, it’s over. The case was to halt certification, the PA State Supreme Court tossed it, the SCOTUS refused the injunction. The case has nowhere else to go. There is no recourse beyond this. The prisoner has been executed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: “The case has nowhere else to go.”

        SCOTUS can review the case. There is no time limit on that. Maybe you are confusing remedy with ruling.


        1. So let the Supreme Court take the case and give a ruling in due time, which would be next summer.

          Then, if they decide to overturn the election, Trump will be in prison for rape, fraud, bank fraud, and littering. Throw in sedition just for the heck of it.

          The precedence that this ignorant president has set means that all elections from now on will be adjudicated by judges and lawyers, voters not need apply.

          Liked by 2 people

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