Guaranteeing the Vote: Executive Pardon Power and the Guarantee Clause

Fernando Torres - UC Davis School of Law
Vol. 57
April 2024
Page 2901

Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution imposes on the United States government the duty to “guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Many in the legal community have written on the impacts the Guarantee Clause may have on both the legislative and judicial branches. Yet few have discussed what effect, if any, the Guarantee Clause may have on the executive branch. This Note will examine the scope of the presidential pardon power and inquire whether a partial application to collateral consequences of state criminal convictions can be authorized under the Guarantee Clause of the Constitution. Specifically, this Note asks whether the conditional right to vote based on felony status can be minimized, or even eliminated, through a broad understanding of the pardon power and the President’s duty to guarantee a “republican” form of government.

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