From:   Charlie Grapski <>
Sent time:   Wednesday, November 02, 2011 7:16:31 AM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Constitutional Rights and their importance to OWS

Unfortunately the Guarantee Clause has never been considered by the Supreme Court to be something they viewed as enforceable - to them its all just "political" questions as to what constitutes a "republican form" of government.

On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 9:12 AM, gail zawacki <> wrote:
Excerpt follows, the entire article is here.

The Constitution says that "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union, a Republican Form of Government."

A "Republican Form of Government" is not a government controlled by Republicans.

Rather, a Republican Form of Government" is a representative government. It is a responsive government. It is a government, to use Abraham Lincoln's famous words, "of the people, by the people, and for the people." A republican form of government is a government that pays attention to the welfare of the vast majority of its citizens, or in the words of OWS, it is a government that cares about and is responsive to the 99 percent, rather than a government that is captured by the 1 percent and made to do that 1 percent's bidding.

The guarantee of a republican form of government, which I have just quoted, is called the Guarantee Clause of Article IV. The Guarantee Clause, as my colleague Akhil Amar has pointed out, was designed to prevent temporary majorities or even minorities from using the levers of government to entrench themselves in power. It was designed to ensure that a small group of powerful and wealthy individuals could not hijack the government and make it do their bidding to the exclusion of the vast majority of the public-- the public for which democratic governments were created to serve. The Guarantee Clause was designed to prevent a small determined faction from seizing the reins of government, and making it a ventriloquist's dummy, a mere puppet of the powerful.

The second half of the Guarantee Clause speaks of invasion and "domestic violence." The framers understood that republics are not lost only to conquering armies. They are destroyed by corruption which leads to feckless, unresponsive government, and causes government to lose legitimacy in the eyes of the broad mass of its citizens. The riots and insurrections come later on to deliver the final blow. That is why the Guarantee Clause concerns both the destruction of majority rule and domestic upheaval. The two are opposite sides of the same coin. Caesar seized Rome after the Roman Senate had become deeply corrupt and the Republic could no longer defend itself. When the Senate is for sale, a coup is unnecessary to destroy republican government. The coup has already occurred from within.