Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bradwell v. Illinois (Bradwell v. The State) case brief summary

Bradwell v. Illinois case brief summary

83 U.S. 130 (1873) 

Facts:Myra Bradwell sued the State of Illinois for refusing to grant her a license to practice law solely on account of her being female. Bradwell argued that a woman’s right to practice law was one of the privileges and immunities guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court, however, disagreed.


Miller, J. The decision whether to admit an individual to a state’s bar in no way rests on the question of citizenship. Even if citizenship were allowed to be a criterion, the application of that criterion should rest with the respective states. 

Bradley J., joined by Swayne and Field JJ, concurring. Although the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees certain privileges and immunities, these privileges and immunities cannot be said to include the right of women to practice law.  History shows that men and women have always occupied separate spheres and that women have been properly allocated domestic duties. This natural balance has been reflected in the law, which prevents a married woman from making a contract without her husband’s consent. The settled order should not be upset.

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