District court dismissed as nonjusticiable.
Courts do not have a judicially discoverable and manageable standard for determining if a state has a republican government under the Guaranty Clause of Article IV, § 4. However, under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, there is a discoverable and manageable standard. This malapportionment violates it, as the affected districts have lost their equal representation.
Clark: This should only be a last option after the people of Tennessee have tried every other way of fixing this problem, but there is no other option as the malapportionment has itself prevented the people from voting for change. Neither the state courts nor the governor have been able to change this. It may be possible for Congress to, but that is an impractical solution, especially as Congress has never done such a thing before. Thus, it is necessary that the federal courts intervene.
Frankfurter: The Court has consistently declined to rule on political questions. Courts are not fit instruments of decision of policies typically fought out in non-judicial forums, by which governments are made and unmade. This case fits all these elements. It is non-justiciable under the Guarantee Clause and this is just hat masquerading under a different label. It cannot make it more fit for judicial action when the gist of the complaint is the same.
There is no fit standard for a vote whereby to judge Tennessee's system, and establishing one would be a political question for the state to decide. Every person can still vote, and it will be equal with everyone else in his district. Equal protection can only mean an equality in relation to whatever governmental action is challenged. As this is a republican form of government, equal protection only goes as far as it does, meaning the judicial guide is the same as under the Guarantee Clause itself. Apportionment is a complex process that does not lend itself to judicial determinations and will add friction in federal-state relations.