Pacific States Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Oregon
223 U.S. 118 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pacific States Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 (1912)

Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon

No. 36

Argued November 3, 1911

Decided February 19, 1912

223 U.S. 118

Syllabus

The enforcement of the provision in § 4 of Art. IV of the Constitution that the United States shall guarantee to every State a republican form of government is of a political character, and exclusively committed to Congress, and as such is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts.

The provisions of § 4 of Art. IV of the Constitution do not authorize the judiciary to substitute its judgment as to a matter purely political for the judgment of Congress on a subject committed to Congress.

Under § 4 of Art. IV of the Constitution, it rests with Congress to decide what government is the established one in a State, and its decision is binding on every other department of the Government, and cannot be questioned by the judiciary. Luther v. Borden, 7 How. 1.

A statute otherwise constitutional cannot be attacked in the courts on the ground that it was adopted in pursuance of provisions in the constitution of the State which render the form of government of the State unrepublican in form within the meaning of § 4 of Art. IV of the Constitution. The courts have no jurisdiction of the question; it is for Congress to determine.

Where the claim that one taxed under a state statute is deprived of property without due process of law is not based on any inherent defect in the law, or infirmity of power of State to levy it, but on the ground that the government of the State is not republican in form, the question is not within the jurisdiction of the courts.

The judicial power of the United States will not be extended so as to interfere with the authority of Congress or of the Executive so as to make the guarantee contained in § 4 of Art. IV of the Constitution one of anarchy, instead of order. Luther v. Borden, 7 How. 1.

Whether the adoption of provisions for the initiative and referendum in the constitution of a State, such as those adopted in Oregon in 1902, so alter the form of government of the State as to make it no longer republican within the meaning of § 4 of Art. IV of the Constitution,

Page 223 U. S. 119

is a purely political question over which this court has no jurisdiction. Writ of error to review 53 Oregon 162, dismissed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under § 4 of Art. IV of the Federal Constitution of the initiative and referendum provisions of the constitution of the State of Oregon, are stated in the opinion.

Page 223 U. S. 133

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