Bradwell v. State

83 U.S. 130 (1873)

 

RULE:

There are privileges and immunities belonging to citizens of the United States, and that it is these and these alone which a State is forbidden to abridge. But the right to admission to practice in the courts of a State is not one of them. This right in no sense depends on citizenship of the United States.

FACTS:

On appeal, the applicant argued that there were certain privileges and immunities, which belonged to a citizen of the United States, and that admission to the bar of a state, for a person who possessed the requisite learning and character, was one of those that a state could not deny. 

ISSUE:

Does the Fourteenth Amendment protect a woman’s right as citizens to engage in any profession? 

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The United States Supreme Court agreed that there were privileges and immunities belonging to United States citizens that a state was forbidden to abridge. However, the Court held that the right of admission to practice in the courts of a state was not one of these privileges and immunities and that this right in no sense depended on citizenship of the United States. The Court reasoned that the right to control and regulate the granting of license to practice law in the courts of a state was one of those powers that was not transferred for its protection to the federal government. The Court found that its exercise was in no manner governed or controlled by citizenship of the United States in the party seeking such license.

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