A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
We might say that such regulations were unjust,
tyrannical, unfit for the regulation of an intelligent State; but
if rights of a citizen are thereby violated, they are of that
fundamental class derived from his position as a citizen of the
State, and not those limited rights belonging to him as a citizen
of the United States, and such was the decision in Corfield
_agt._ Coryell, _supra_.

The United States rights appertaining to this subject are those
first under article 1, paragraph 2, of the United States
Constitution, which provides that electors of Representatives in
Congress shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of
the most numerous branch of the State Legislature, and second,
under the XV. Amendment, which provides that the right of a
citizen of the United States to vote shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any State, on account of
race, color, or previous condition of servitude. If the
Legislature of the State of New York should require a higher
qualification in a voter for a representative in Congress than is
required for a voter for a member of Assembly, this would, I
conceive, be a violation of a right belonging to one as a citizen
of the United States. That right is in relation to a federal
subject or interest, and is guaranteed by the Federal
Constitution. The inability of a State to abridge the right of
voting on account of race, color, or previous condition of
servitude, arises from a federal guaranty. Its violation would be
the denial of a federal right--that is, a right belonging to the
claimant as a citizen of the United States.

This right, however, exists by virtue of the XV. Amendment. If
the XV. Amendment had contained the word "sex," the argument of
the defendant would have been potent. She would have said, an
attempt by a State to deny the right to vote because one is of a
particular sex, is expressly prohibited by that Amendment. The
Amendment, however, does not contain that word. It is limited to
race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The Legislature
of the State of New York has seen fit to say, that the franchise
of voting shall be limited to the male sex. In saying this there
is, in my judgment, no violation of the letter or of the spirit
of the XIV. or of the XV. Amendment.

This view is assumed in the second section of the XIV. Amendment,
which enacts that if the right to vote for Federal officers is
denied by any State to any of the male inhabitants of such State,
except for crime, the basis of representation of such State shall
be reduced in proportion specified. Not only does this section
assume that the right of male inhabitants to vote was the
especial object of its protection, but it assumes and admits the
right of a State, notwithstanding the existence of that clause
under which the defendant claims to the contrary, to deny to
classes or portions of the male inhabitants the right to vote
which is allowed to other male inhabitants. The regulation of the
suffrage is thereby conceded to the States as a State's right.

The case of Myra Bradwell, decided at a recent term of the
Supreme Court of the United States, sustains both the positions
above put forth, viz: First, that the rights referred to in the
XIV. Amendment are those belonging to a person as a citizen of
the United States and not as a citizen of a State; and second,
that a right of the character here involved is not one connected
with citizenship of the United States. Mrs. Bradwell made
application to be admitted to practice as an attorney and
counselor-at-law in the Courts of Illinois. Her application was
denied, and upon appeal to the Supreme Court of the United
States, it was there held that to give jurisdiction under the
XIV. Amendment, the claim must be of a right pertaining to
citizenship of the United States, and that the claim made by her
did not come within that class of cases. Mr. Justice Bradley and
Mr. Justice Field held that a woman was not entitled to a license
to practice law. It does not appear that the other Judges passed
upon that question. The XIV. Amendment gives no right to a woman
to vote, and the voting by Miss Anthony was in violation of the
law.

If she believed she had a right to vote, and voted in reliance
upon that belief, does that relieve her from the penalty? It is
argued that the knowledge referred to in the act relates to her
knowledge of the illegality of the act, and not to the act of
voting; for it is said that she must know that she voted. Two
principles apply here: First, ignorance of the law excuses no
one; second, every person is presumed to understand and to intend
the necessary effects of his own acts. Miss Anthony knew that she
was a woman, and that the Constitution of this State prohibits
her from voting. She intended to violate that provision--intended
to test it, perhaps, but certainly intended to violate it. The
necessary effect of her act was to violate it, and this she is
presumed to have intended. There was no ignorance of any fact,
but all the facts being known, she undertook to settle a
principle in her own person. She takes the risk, and she can not
escape the consequences. It is said, and authorities are cited to
sustain the position, that there can be no crime unless there is
a culpable intent; to render one criminally responsible a vicious
will must be present. A. commits a trespass on the land of B.,
and B., thinking and believing that he has a right to shoot an
intruder on his premises, kills A. on the spot. Does B.'s
misapprehension of his rights justify his act? Would a Judge be
justified in charging the jury that if satisfied that B. supposed
he had a right to shoot A he was justified, and they should find
a verdict of not guilty? No Judge would make such a charge. To
constitute a crime, it is true that there must be a criminal
intent, but it is equally true that knowledge of the facts of the
case is always held to supply this intent. An intentional killing
bears with it evidence of malice in law. Whoever, without
justifiable cause, intentionally kills his neighbor, is guilty of
a crime. The principle is the same in the case before us, and in
all criminal cases. The precise question now before me has been
several times decided, viz: That one illegally voting was bound
and was assumed to know the law, and that a belief that he had a
right to vote gave no defense, if there was no mistake of fact.
(Hamilton against The People, 57th of Barbour, p. 625; State
against Boyet, 10th of Iredell, p. 336; State against Hart, 6th
Jones, 389; McGuire against State, 7 Humphrey, 54; 15th of Iowa
reports, 404.) No system of criminal jurisprudence can be
sustained upon any other principle. Assuming that Miss Anthony
believed she had a right to vote, that fact constitutes no
defense if in truth she had not the right. She voluntarily gave a
vote which was illegal, and thus is subject to the penalty of the
law.

The Judge directed the jury to find a verdict of guilty.

Judge SELDEN: I submit that on the view which your honor has
taken, that the right to vote and the regulation of it is solely
a State matter. That this whole law is out of the jurisdiction of
the United States Courts and of Congress. The whole law upon that
basis, as I understand it, is not within the constitutional power
of the General Government, but is one which applies to the
States. I suppose that it is for the jury to determine whether
the defendant is guilty of a crime or not. And I therefore ask
your honor to submit to the jury these propositions:

First.--If the defendant, at the time of voting, believed that
she had a right to vote and voted in good faith in that belief,
she is not guilty of the offense charged.

Second.--In determining the question whether she did or did not
believe that she had a right to vote, the jury may take into
consideration, as bearing upon that question, the advice which
she received from the counsel to whom she applied.

Third.--That they may also take into consideration, as bearing
upon the same question, the fact that the inspectors considered
the question and came to the conclusion that she had a right to
vote.

Fourth.--That the jury have a right to find a general verdict of
guilty or not guilty as they shall believe that she has or has
not committed the offense described in the statute.

A professional friend sitting by has made this suggestion which I
take leave to avail myself of as bearing upon this question: "The
Court has listened for many hours to an argument in order to
decide whether the defendant has a right to vote. The arguments
show the same question has engaged the best minds of the country
as an open question. Can it be possible that the defendant is to
be convicted for acting upon such advice as she could obtain
while the question is an open and undecided one?"

THE COURT.--You have made a much better argument than that, sir.

JUDGE SELDEN.--As long as it is an open question, I submit that
she has not been guilty of an offense. At all events, it is for
the jury.

THE COURT.--I can not charge these propositions of course. The
question, gentlemen of the jury, in the form it finally takes, is
wholly a question or questions of law, and I have decided as a
question of law, in the first place, that under the XIV.
Amendment, which Miss Anthony claims protects her, she was not
protected in a right to vote.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | 232 | | 233 | | 234 | | 235 | | 236 | | 237 | | 238 | | 239 | | 240 | | 241 | | 242 | | 243 | | 244 | | 245 | | 246 | | 247 | | 248 | | 249 | | 250 | | 251 | | 252 | | 253 | | 254 | | 255 | | 256 | | 257 | | 258 | | 259 | | 260 | | 261 | | 262 | | 263 | | 264 | | 265 | | 266 | | 267 | | 268 | | 269 | | 270 | | 271 | | 272 | | 273 | | 274 | | 275 | | 276 | | 277 | | 278 | | 279 | | 280 | | 281 | | 282 | | 283 | | 284 | | 285 | | 286 | | 287 | | 288 | | 289 | | 290 | | 291 | | 292 | | 293 | | 294 | | 295 | | 296 | | 297 | | 298 | | 299 | | 300 | | 301 | | 302 | | 303 | | 304 | | 305 | | 306 | | 307 | | 308 | | 309 | | 310 | | 311 | | 312 | | 313 | | 314 | | 315 | | 316 | | 317 | | 318 | | 319 | | 320 | | 321 | | 322 | | 323 | | 324 | | 325 | | 326 | | 327 | | 328 | | 329 | | 330 | | 331 | | 332 | | 333 | | 334 | | 335 | | 336 | | 337 | | 338 | | 339 | | 340 | | 341 | | 342 | | 343 | | 344 | | 345 | | 346 | | 347 | | 348 | | 349 | | 350 | | 351 | | 352 | | 353 | | 354 | | 355 | | 356 | | 357 | | 358 | | 359 | | 360 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.