Carolyn Shapiro Calls on Congress to Protect Representative Democracy

Carolyn Shapiro (’97), Professor of Law, Founder and Co-Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the U.S. at Chicago-Kent College of Law, published an article on the American Constitution Society’s ACS Blogs Expert Forum on Law and Policy Analysis supporting eliminating the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation and urging Congress to uphold its constitutional obligation under the Guarantee Clause (“The Filibuster Must Give Way to the Constitutional Guarantee of a Republican Form of Government,” Jan. 13). “Put in terms of the Guarantee Clause, today’s increasing embrace of anti-democratic practices both threatens national cohesion and undermines the ability of states that do not engage in such practices to maintain political parity with those that do. Under these circumstances, the Guarantee Clause requires the federal government act to protect democracy. And because the Supreme Court has long held that the federal courts cannot adjudicate claims brought under the Guarantee Clause, that protection must come from Congress. Today, the filibuster is standing in the way of Congress fulfilling its constitutional obligation to protect democracy. . . . At this moment of peril for our representative democracy, the Constitution requires Congress to pass legislation to fulfill the Guarantee.”