“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature can-not be convened) against domestic Violence.”
Written in two parts, the first half, commonly referred to as the Guarantee Clause identifies the Federal Sovereign obligations to protect the rights of each state to a republican, or representative form of government, most likely based upon a democratic, one person one vote electoral process. The Clause also gives Congress the duty and obligation to protect the various states from foreign invasion and to quell domestic (homegrown) incidents and insurrections.
The question for today becomes, when the Federal Sovereign itself refuses to honor its obligations hereunder, and is the cause of strife and unrest in and among the many states, what do We the People do? Short answer is we vote the bums out of office. But what if we can’t?
What if the Presidential electoral process has become so corroded, perhaps through voter suppression, election fraud, disenfranchisement and plain old dirty tricks that the process is no longer even capable of producing an outcome representative of a representative, democratic, form of government? And, importantly, what do we do when our President considers himself above the law, above the Constitution and indeed, a monarch?
Here’s the conundrum. If we rise against King Trump, is he “obligated” to quell our rebellion as part of his domestic duties found in Article IV, Section 4? Should our Fascist in Chief be able to bring the full weight of the Federal government, including the military, to bear upon individual Americans who are engaged in a battle to protect those rights as guaranteed under Article IV and in several other parts of the Constitution, most notably, the Bill of Rights? Importantly, are We, the People required to accept the outcome of a blatantly rigged election process?
Last year, the Guarantee Clause received some renewed interest and attention. In Rucho v. Common Cause, the Roberts Court ruled the Guarantee Clause could not be used as a basis for challenging partisan, sometimes hyper, gerrymandering in the Federal court system. However, come November, we are dealing with an elephant of a different color. I think it’s more than fair to say we are faced with the specter of a monarchy with both a mad king and his line of succession in play. For this, we have no less an authority than James Madison writing about Article IV, Section 4 in the Federalist Papers:
“In a confederacy founded on republican principles, and composed of republican members, the superintending government ought clearly to possess authority to defend the system against aristocratic or monarchical innovations.” – James Madison 23 Jan. 1788.
As a late 18th Century colonist and potential American, Madison was no doubt familiar and concerned about the intervention of, well, those who would be king in the newly minted democratic republic of America. His words are clear and unambiguous. No royalty allowed. Now let me ask you, how is our fearless, totalitarian, divine interventionist, tweet happy monarch of the free world any different than, well, King George III? The men and the madness. Need I say more?
It is only my opinion, but shouldn’t one reign of terror be met by another rain of terror brought down by the People upon those who would rule without kindness, compassion, care or justice? Is there any reason we in America, on what is the celebrated Bastille Day in France, have any less need for good, fair, equality under the law and honorable governance than those who brought down a prison and defeated a king? I’ll put it to you this way; Is there any reason we shouldn’t have our cake and eat it too?
Further, if Article IV, Section 4 is not about preventing monarchies along with men and women of privilege and title, then what is it for? For as much as I’m sure the Roberts’ Court would love to further bury its collective conservative heads in the sand, it must be there for something. And, I humbly posit, this is it. Sad that we have come to this point, but it is what it is. Vive la guillotine!