The Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution

By William M. Wiecek | Go to book overview

4
Luther v. Borden (1849)

Rhode Island Dorrites remained undaunted by the suppression of their government and the demise of the Rebellion as an issue in national politics. After their sympathizers in Congress failed to censure President Tyler, they carried their struggle to a different forum -- the United States Supeme Court. They reasoned that even if the new President James K. Polk was indifferent or preoccupied (as he was), and resort to Congress was useless, the Court might uphold their position if they could bring up a case. Why they should have reached this conclusion remains unclear. Perhaps they believed that because seven of the Justices sitting in 1843 were appointed by Democratic presidents they could get a sympathetic hearing on their dispute with the Freeholders. There was in fact some reason for such optimism. Justice Levi Woodbury, a thoroughgoing Jacksonian, had declared his support for the Dorr cause before his appointment to the bench. Justices Robert Grier and John Catron were suspected of being sympathetic to the Dorrites. Dorr himself thought that Justices Samuel Nelson and Peter V. Daniel would also be receptive.1

____________________
1
A pro-Dorrite statement signed by Woodbury appears in the People's Democratic Guide, June 1842. The attitudes of Grier and Catron are discussed in Charles Warren, The Supreme Court in United States History ( Boston, 1923), II, 462-467; Dorr to Benjamin F. Hallett and George Turner, 2 Feb. 1847, in Magrath, "Optimistic Democrat,"103. See also Levi Woodbury to Dorr, 15 April 1841 [ sic; actually 1842 ] in Dorr Mss., Rider Collection, John Hay Library, Providence, R.I.

-111-

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The Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Beginnings 9
  • I - Origins 11
  • 2 - Drafting And Ratification 51
  • 3 - Domestic Violence 78
  • 4 - Luther V. Borden (1849) 111
  • Part II - Fruition 131
  • 5- Slavery in The American Republic 133
  • 6 - Reconstruction: Crescendo, 1861-1867 166
  • 7 - Reconstruction: Diminuendo, 1867-1877 210
  • Part III - Desuetude 245
  • 8 - The Progressive Era 247
  • 9- Baker V. Carr (1962) 270
  • Epilogue 290
  • Suggested Secondary Readings 305
  • Index 315
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