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While those theories
which are popularly known as "woman's rights" can not be expected
to meet with a very cordial acceptance among the members of a
profession which, more than any other, inclines its followers, if
not to stand immovable upon the ancient ways, at least to make no
hot haste in measures of reform, still all right-minded men must
gladly see new spheres of action opened to woman, and greater
inducements offered her to seek the highest and widest culture.
There are some departments of the legal profession in which she
can appropriately labor.

Whether, on the other hand, to engage in the hot strifes of the
Bar, in the presence of the public, and with momentous verdicts
the prizes of the struggle would not tend to destroy the
deference and delicacy with which it is the pride of our ruder
sex to treat her, is a matter certainly worthy of her
consideration. But the important question is, what effect the
presence of women as barristers in our courts would have upon the
administration of justice, and the question can be satisfactorily
answered only in the light of experience.

If the Legislature shall choose to remove the existing barriers
and authorize us to issue licenses equally to men and women, we
shall cheerfully obey, trusting to the good sense and sound
judgment of women themselves to seek those departments of the
practice in which they can labor without reasonable objection.

Application denied.

The opinion will be best understood by reading our arguments
first, and knowing all the points made before the court. We have
not the space to review the opinion in this issue, but shall do
so at some future day, and will simply say now, that what the
decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred
Scott case was to the rights of negroes as citizens of the United
States, this decision is to the political rights of women in
Illinois--annihilation.


CAN A WOMAN PRACTICE LAW OR HOLD ANY OFFICE IN ILLINOIS?


_Full Report of the Proceedings in the Supreme Court of Illinois
and the Supreme Court of the United States, upon the application
of Myra Bradwell to be admitted to the Bar._

On pp. 145, 146, and 147 of this volume, we gave the proceedings
in full in the Supreme Court of this State upon our application
to be admitted to practice law, including the opinion of Judge
Lawrence, the present learned Chief-Justice of that tribunal,
denying the application on the sole ground that a woman could not
be admitted to the bar or hold any office in Illinois. As soon
after this opinion was announced as we could obtain a certified
copy of the record, we placed it in the hands of the Hon. Matt.
H. Carpenter, one of the ablest constitutional lawyers in the
nation, with a view of obtaining a writ of error from the Supreme
Court of the United States. Mr. Carpenter prepared and presented
our petition for a writ of error, together with the record. The
following is the indorsement upon the record, allowing the writ
of error from the Supreme Court of the United States:

I allow a writ of error from the Supreme Court of the United
States to the Supreme Court of Illinois, in the suit and
judgment of which the foregoing record is a transcript.

SAM. F. MILLER, _Asso. Jus. Sup. Court U. S._

_August 16, 1870_.


CITATION TO THE STATE OF ILLINOIS TO APPEAR AT WASHINGTON.

_The United States of America to the State of
Illinois_:--The State of Illinois is hereby cited and
admonished to appear and be at the Supreme Court of the
United States to be holden at Washington City in the
District of Columbia, on the first Monday of December next,
pursuant to a writ of error filed in the clerk's office of
the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, wherein Myra
Bradwell is plaintiff in error, and the State of Illinois is
defendant in error, to show cause, if any there be, why the
judgment in the said writ of error mentioned should not be
corrected, and speedy justice should not be done to the
parties in that behalf.

Witness the Honorable Salmon P. Chase, Chief-Justice of the
Supreme Court of the United States this 16th day of August,
A.D. 1870.

SAM. F. MILLER, _Asso. Jus. Sup. Court U. S._


WRIT OF ERROR.

_United States of America, ss.:_

[SEAL.] The President of the United States, To the Honorable
the Judges of the Supreme Court of the State of
Illinois--Greeting:

Because, in the record and proceedings, as also in the
rendition of the judgment of a plea which is in the said
Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, before you, or some
of you, being the highest court of law or equity of the said
State in which a decision could be had in the said suit in
the matter of the application of Myra Bradwell, of Cook
County, Illinois for a license to practice law in the courts
of said State, wherein was drawn in question the validity of
a treaty or statute of, or an authority exercised under, the
United States, and the decision was against their validity;
or wherein was drawn in question the validity of a statute
of, or an authority exercised under, said State, on the
ground of their being repugnant to the Constitution,
treaties, or laws of the United States, and the decision was
in favor of such their validity; or wherein was drawn in
question the construction of a clause of the Constitution,
or of a treaty, or statute of, or commission held under, the
United States, and the decision was against the title,
right, privilege, or exemption, specially set up or claimed
under such clause of the said Constitution, treaty, statute,
or commission, a manifest error hath happened, to the great
damage of the said Myra Bradwell, as by her complaint
appears. We being willing that error, if any hath been,
should be duly corrected, and full and speedy justice done
to the parties aforesaid in this behalf, do command you, if
judgment be therein given, that then under your seal,
distinctly and openly, you send the record and proceedings
aforesaid, with all things concerning the same, to the
Supreme Court of the United States, together with this writ,
so that you have the same at Washington on the first Monday
of December next, in the said Supreme Court, to be then and
there held, that the record and proceedings aforesaid being
inspected, the said Supreme Court may cause further to be
done therein to correct that error what of right, and
according to the laws and custom of the United States,
should be done.

Witness the Honorable Salmon P. Chase, Chief-Justice of the
said Supreme Court, the first Monday of December, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine.

D. W. MIDDLETON,
_Clerk of the Supreme Court of the U. S._

Issued 23d August, 1870. Allowed by me,

SAM. F. MILLER, _Asso. Jus. Sup. Court, U. S._

While these suits for the recognition of the political rights of women
were pending, a contest of a different character took place in
Illinois. Mrs. Myra Bradwell, editor of the Chicago _Legal News_,
applied for admission to the bar of that State, and was refused. She
made this denial of her civil rights a test case by bringing suit
against the State of Illinois in the Supreme Court of the United
States. The case was argued for the plaintiff in the December term,
1871, by the Hon. Matt. H. Carpenter, of Wisconsin, an eminent
republican United States Senator. In addressing the Court Mr.
Carpenter said:

This is a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of
Illinois, to review the proceedings of that court, denying the
petition of the plaintiff in error to be admitted to practice as
an attorney and counselor of that court, which right was claimed
by the plaintiff in error in that court under the XIV. Amendment
of the Constitution of the United States. The plaintiff in error
is a married woman, of full age, a citizen of the United States
and of the State of Illinois; was ascertained and certified to be
duly qualified in respect of character and attainments, but was
denied admission to the bar for the sole reason that she was a
married woman. This is the error relied upon to reverse the
proceedings below.

By the rules of this court no person can be admitted to practice
at the bar without service for a fixed term in the highest court
of the State in which such person resides. Consequently a denial
of admission in the highest court of the State is an
insurmountable obstacle to admission to the bar of this court.
This record, therefore, presents the broad question, whether a
married woman, being a citizen of the United States and of a
State, and possessing the necessary qualifications, is entitled
by the Constitution of the United States to be admitted to
practice as an attorney and counselor-at-law in the courts of the
State in which she resides. This is a question not of taste,
propriety, or politeness, but of civil right. Before proceeding
to discuss this question, it may be well to distinguish it from
the question of the right of female citizens to participate in
the exercise of the elective franchise.

The great problem of female suffrage, the solution of which lies
in our immediate future, naturally enough, from its transcendent
importance, draws to itself, in prejudiced minds, every question
relating to the civil rights of women; and it seems to be feared
that doing justice to woman's rights in any particular would
probably be followed by the establishment of the right of female
suffrage, which, it is assumed, would overthrow Christianity,
defeat the ends of modern civilization, and upturn the world.

While I do not believe that female suffrage has been secured by
the existing amendments to the Constitution of the United States,
neither do I look upon that result as at all to be dreaded.



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