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And if this provision does protect the
colored citizen, then it protects every citizen, black or white,
male or female. Why may a colored citizen buy, hold, and sell
land in any State of the Union? Because he is a citizen of the
United States, and that is one of the privileges of a citizen.
Why may a colored citizen be admitted to the bar? Because he is a
citizen, and that is one of the avocations open to every citizen;
and no State can abridge his right to pursue it. Certainly no
other reason can be given.

Now, let us come to the case of Myra Bradwell. She 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. Indeed, the
court below, in their opinion, found in the record, page 9, say:
"Of the ample qualifications of the applicant we have no doubt."
Still, admission to the bar was denied the petitioner, not upon
the ground that she was not a citizen; not for want of age or
qualifications; not because the profession of the law is not one
of those avocations which are open to every American citizen as
matter of right, upon complying with the reasonable regulations
prescribed by the Legislature: but upon the sole ground that
inconvenience would result from permitting her to enjoy her legal
rights in this, to wit, that her clients might have difficulty in
enforcing the contracts they might make with her, as their
attorney, because of her being a married woman.

Now, with entire respect to that court, it is submitted that this
argument _ab inconvenienti_, which might have been urged with
whatever force belongs to it, against adopting the XIV. Amendment
in the full scope of its language, is utterly futile to resist
its full and proper operation, now that it has been adopted.
Concede, for argument, that the XIV. Amendment ought to have read
thus:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of any citizens except married
women;

yet that exception is not found in the sweeping provision of this
amendment. It is provided that citizens may be disfranchised for
treason; but it is nowhere provided that a citizen shall be
disfranchised for being a married woman. The opinion of the court
below puts a limitation upon this unlimited constitutional
provision. If this court shall approve this exception, in the
very teeth of the unambiguous language of the Constitution, where
may we expect judicial legislation to stop? Can this court say
that married women have no rights that are to be respected? Can
this court say that, when the XIV. Amendment speaks of all
persons, etc., and declares them to be citizens, it means all
male persons and unmarried females? Or can this court say that,
when the XIV. Amendment declares "the privileges of no citizen
shall be abridged," it means that the privileges of no male
citizen or unmarried female citizen shall be abridged? This would
be bold dealing with the constitutional provision. It would be
excluding a large proportion of the citizens of the United States
from privileges which the Constitution declares shall be the
inheritance of every citizen alike.

But it is respectfully submitted that the court below erred in
holding that a married woman, admitted to the bar under the XIV.
Amendment, would not be liable on contracts, express or implied,
between her and her clients. In Wisconsin, when the Legislature
passed the act protecting married women in the enjoyment of their
separate estate, our court, upon reasoning that can not be
gainsaid, held that the Legislature must have intended all the
natural and logical results of the act in question; and,
therefore, that the contracts of a married woman, relating to her
separate estate, were as binding as if made by a _feme sole_. It
is submitted that, for still stronger reasons, the great
innovation of the XIV. Amendment should be carried to its logical
conclusion, and that it sweeps away the principles of the common
law, as it does the express provisions of State constitutions and
statutes.

But again: Mrs. Bradwell, admitted to the bar, becomes an officer
of the court, subject to its summary jurisdiction. Any
malpractice or unprofessional conduct towards her client would be
punishable by fine, imprisonment, or expulsion from the bar, or
by all three. Her clients would, therefore, not be compelled to
resort to actions at law against her. But if the courts of
Illinois should refuse to exercise this summary jurisdiction, and
should hold that actions at law could not be maintained on
contracts between her and her clients, it might result that she
would not be as generally employed as she otherwise would be. But
that is no reason why she should be prohibited from appearing and
trying causes for clients who are willing to rely upon her
integrity and honor.

But let it not be supposed that, in trying to answer as to the
inconveniences imagined by the court below, I am at all departing
from the broad ground of constitutional right upon which I rest
this cause. I maintain that the XIV. 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. Intelligence, integrity, and honor are the
only qualifications that can be prescribed as conditions
precedent to an entry upon any honorable pursuit or profitable
avocation, and all the privileges and immunities which I
vindicate to a colored citizen, I vindicate to our mothers, our
sisters, and our daughters. The inequalities of sex will
undoubtedly have their influence, and be considered by every
client desiring to employ counsel.

There may be cases in which a client's rights can only be rescued
by an exercise of the rough qualities possessed by men. There are
many cases in which the telling sympathy and the silver voice of
woman would accomplish more than the severity and sternness of
man could achieve. Of a bar composed of men and women of equal
integrity and learning, women might be more or less frequently
retained, as the taste or judgment of clients might dictate. But
the broad shield of the Constitution is over them all, and
protects each in that measure of success which his or her
individual merits may secure.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. _December Term_, 1872. Myra
Bradwell, Plaintiff in Error, _vs._ the State of Illinois. In
error to the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois.

1. The Supreme Court of Illinois having refused to grant to
plaintiff a license to practice law in the courts of that
State, on the ground that females are not eligible under the
laws of that State, such a decision violates no provision of
the Federal Constitution.

2. The second section of the fourth article is inapplicable,
because plaintiff is a citizen of the State of whose action
she complains, and that section only guarantees privileges
and immunities to citizens of other States, in that State.

3. Nor is the right to practice law in the State courts a
privilege or immunity of a citizen of the United States,
within the meaning of the first section of the XIV. Article
of Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

4. The power of a State to prescribe the qualifications for
admission to the bar of its own courts is unaffected by the
XIV. Amendment, and this court can not inquire into the
reasonableness or propriety of the rules it may prescribe.

Mr. 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. She accompanied her petition with the
usual certificate from an inferior court of her good character,
and that on due examination she had been found to possess the
requisite qualifications. Pending this application she also filed
an affidavit, to the effect "that she was born in the State of
Vermont; that she was (had been) a citizen of that State; that
she is now a citizen of the United States, and has been for many
years past a resident of the city of Chicago, in the State of
Illinois." And with this affidavit she also filed a paper
claiming that, under the foregoing facts, she was entitled to the
license prayed for by virtue of the second section of the fourth
article of the Constitution of the United States, and of the XIV.
Article of Amendment of that instrument.

The statute of Illinois on this subject enacts that no person
shall be permitted to practice as an attorney or
counselor-at-law, or to commence, conduct, or defend any action,
suit, or plaint, in which he is not a party concerned, in any
court of record within this State, either by using or subscribing
his own name or the name of any other person, without having
previously obtained a license for that purpose from some two of
the justices of the Supreme Court, which license shall constitute
the person receiving the same an attorney and counselor-at-law,
and shall authorize him to appear in all the courts of record
within this State, and there to practice as an attorney and
counselor-at-law, according to the laws and customs thereof.

The Supreme Court denied the application, apparently upon the
ground that it was a woman who made it.



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