Clause in Article IV, section 4, of the U.S. Constitution empowering the national government to guarantee to each state a republican form of government.
As a basis of national power, the guarantee clause has seldom been invoked. President Abraham Lincoln relied on it for authority to suppress the rebellion of the Southern states, and Congress, with the subsequent support of the Supreme Court (Texas v. White, 1869), used it to justify the post-Civil War Reconstruction laws. Its principal significance in constitutional law has been in the Court’s nonjusticiability jurisprudence. In a trespass action arising out of Dorr’s Rebellion (1842), the Court faced the vexing problem of determining which of the warring factions was the legitimate government of Rhode Island when the alleged trespass occurred. Instead of deciding, the Court, in Luther v. Borden
In Baker v. Carr
It has long been argued that the Court should invoke the guarantee clause to protect state autonomy against federal interference and to protect individuals against state tyranny. The Court’s use of the Tenth Amendment to accomplish the former in New York v. United States
Bonfield, Arthur. “The Guarantee Clause of Article IV, Section 4: A Study in Congressional Desuetude.” Minnesota Law Review 46, no. 513 (1962). Merritt, Deborah Jones. “The Guarantee Clause and State Autonomy: Federalism for a Third Century.” Columbia Law Review 88 (1988). Wiecek, William M. The Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitition. Clark, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange, 2004.
Baker v. Carr
Restrictions on court power