West Virginia lawmakers tried to impeach corrupt state judges. The West Virginia Supreme Court halted their efforts. Now the legislature is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.
The state is pinning its hopes on the U.S. Constitution’s “guarantee clause,” which provides that “the United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.” The legislature’s petition reads:
“The subject decision of the Supreme Court of West Virginia eviscerates the state’s right to a republican form of government by elevating the judicial branch to a supreme branch of government with the power to adjudicate and restrain the legislative branch in the exercise of its obligations regarding impeachment proceedings.”
This will be an uphill battle, considering that the Supreme Court has typically declined to hear guarantee clause cases, and that it tends to yield to state courts on matters of state law. There’s also the big hulking elephant in the room, which is that if the Court were to rule that judicial review, or even just one particular usage of judicial review, is contrary to a republican government, this would bring into question the Court’s own unrestrained power to overrule Congress.
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