And the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things, and cannot be based upon exceptional cases. In Error to the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. The case was appealed to the U. The supreme court denied the application apparently upon the ground that it was a woman who made it. In Error to the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois.
Justice Bradley: I concur in the judgment of the court in this case, by which the judgment of the supreme court of Illinois is affirmed, but not for reason specified in the opinion just read. But a qualification, to which a whole class of citizens never can attain, is not a regulation of admission to the bar, but is, as to such citizens, a prohibition. This Supreme Court overruled the decision, but the historical Supreme Court upheld the state decision by an 8 to 1 vote. The case dealt with the denial of a law license to Myra Bradwell solely because of her gender. Illinois, which was argued on January 18, 1873. The plaintiff seems to have seen this difficulty, and attempts to avoid it by stating that she was born in Vermont.
The claim of the plaintiff, who is a married woman, to be admitted to practice as an attorney and counselor at law, is based upon the supposed right of every person, man or woman, to engage in any lawful employment for a livelihood. The 2d section of the 4th article is inapplicable, because plaintiff is a citizen of the state whose action she complains, and that section only other states, in that state. It is sufficient to say that, in our opinion, the other implied limitation upon our power, to which we have above referred, must operate to prevent our admitting women to the office of attorney at law. In a concurring opinion that revealed the cultural underpinnings of the period, Justice Joseph P. There she apprenticed as a lawyer in her husband's office, and assisted him with research and legal writings.
The court having overruled these claims of right founded on the clauses of the Federal Constitution before referred to, those propositions may be considered as properly before this court. The claim of the plaintiff, who is a married woman, to be admitted to practice as an attorney and counsellor-at-law, is based upon the supposed right of every person, man or woman, to engage in any lawful employment for a livelihood. If the plaintiff was a citizen of the state of Illinois, that provision of the Constitution gave her no protection against its courts or it legislation. Missouri,2 this court say: 'The theory upon which our political institutions rest is, that all men have certain inalienable rights-that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and that in the pursuit of happiness all avocations, all honors, all positions, are alike open to every one, and that in the protection of these rights all are equal before the law. Furthermore, the protection of women required restricting their participation in certain occupations and in work outside the home generally. In this case, the Court explained that Bradwell was a citizen of Illinois. They hold their office during good behavior, and can only be deprived of it for misconduct, ascertained and declared by the judgment of the court, after opportunity to be heard has been offered.
The inequalities of sex will undoubtedly have their influence, and be considered by every client desiring to employ counsel. The fourteenth amendment declares that citizens of the United States are citizens of the State within which they reside; therefore the plaintiff was, at the time of making her application, a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the State of Illinois. Should women be able to practice law? Myra Bradwell plaintiff applied to the Supreme Court of Illinois for a license to practice law in the State of Illinois defendant. The order of admission is the judgment of the court, that the parties possess the requisite qualifications as attorneys and counsellors, and are entitled to appear as such and conduct causes therein. But I am not prepared to say that it is one of her fundamental rights and privileges to be admitted into every office and position, including those which require highly special qualifications and demanding special responsibilities.
James Bradwell was the head of a private school and Myra Bradwell became a teacher in that school. For these reasons I think that the laws of Illinois now complained of are not obnoxious to the charge of abridging any of the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States. The harmony, not to say identity, of interests and views which belong or should belong to the family institution, is repugnant to the idea of a woman adopting a distinct and independent career from that of her husband. It utters the will of the United States in every state, and silences every state Constitution, usage or law which conflicts with it. It is the prerogative of the legislator to prescribe regulations founded on nature, reason, and experience for the due admission of qualified persons to professions and callings demanding special skill and confidence.
The legislature may say at what age candidates shall be admitted; may elevate or depress the standard of learning required. It is exercise of judicial power, and has been so held in numerous cases. While she remained in Vermont that circumstance made her a citizen of that state. But whether women should be admitted to right of suffrage is one thing and whether this end has already been accomplished is quite another. If no State may 'make or enforce any law' to abridge the privileges of a citizen, it must follow that the privileges of all citizens are the same. It is true that many women are unmarried and not affected by any of the duties, complications, and incapacities arising out of the married state, but these are exceptions to the general rule. As he explained, the law has always recognized fundamental differences between the sexes.
The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfil the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. Bradwell made no further proceedings to gain her license, although she assisted women in other states attempting to study law and gain law licenses in their states. One was that it should establish such terms of admission as would promote the proper administration of justice, and the other that it should not admit any persons, or class of persons, not intended by the legislature to be admitted, even though not expressly excluded by statute. In regard to that Amendment counsel for the plaintiff in this court truly says that there are certain privileges and immunities which belong to a citizen in the United States as such; otherwise it would be nonsense for the 14th Amendment to prohibit a state from abridging them, and he proceeds to argue that admission to the bar of a state, of a person who possesses the requisite learning and character, is one of those which a state may not deny. This fairly belongs to the police power of the State; and, in my opinion, in view of the peculiar characteristics, destiny, and mission of woman, it is within the province of the legislature to ordain what offices, positions, and callings shall be filled and discharged by men, and shall receive the benefit of those energies and responsibilities, and that decision and firmness which are presumed to predominate in the sterner sex. Justice Miller delivered the opinion of the court: The plaintiff in error, residing in the state of Illinois, made application to the judges of the supreme court of that state for a license to practice law. Supreme Court Decisions and Women's Rights: Milestone to Equality.
It is true that many women are unmarried and not affected by any of the duties, complications, and incapacities arising out of the married state, but these are exceptions to the general rule. Illinois Myra Bradwell's efforts to gain admission to the Illinois bar resulted in a Supreme Court decision. I maintain that the 14th Amendment opens to every citizen of the United States, male or female, black or white, married or single, the honorable professions as well as the servile employments of life; and that no citizen can be excluded from any one of them. For these reasons I think that the laws of Illinois now complained of are not obnoxious to the charge of abridging any of the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States. We will have a chance to hear the argument — or a creative, updated version of it, with different advocates and a different outcome. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life.
As regards the provision of the Constitution that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States, the plaintiff in her affidavit has stated very clearly a case to which it is inapplicable. Bradwell is a citizen of the United States, and of the State of Illinois, residing therein; she has been judicially ascertained to be of full age, and to possess the requisite character and learning. Bradwell had married a lawyer and read the law with her husband. It is sufficient to say that, in our opinion, the other implied limitation upon our power, to which we have above referred, must operate to prevent our admitting women to the office of attorney at law. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.