The court rejected the plaintiff's claim that being a citizen of Vermont entitled her to the same rights as citizens of Illinois, as the provision that citizens of each state are entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states does not apply to a citizen of the state whose laws are being challenged. The court held that the plaintiff was a citizen of both the United States and Illinois, and admission to the bar of a State is not a privilege and immunity of a citizen of the United States. The court suggested that this right would relate to citizenship of the State for State courts and citizenship of the United States for Federal courts.
The Supreme Court of Illinois denied a married woman's application to be admitted to the bar as an attorney and counsellor-at-law, citing the common law tradition that only men were admitted to the bar. The court held that the legislature had not changed this tradition, but had left it to the court's discretion to establish rules for admission. The court denied the application of females to be admitted as members of the bar, as it was contrary to the rules of the common law and the usages of Westminster Hall from time immemorial. The argument is made that the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution prohibits any State from making or enforcing any law that abridges the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, and therefore, the statute law of Illinois or the common law prevailing in that State cannot be used to prevent women from pursuing any lawful employment for a livelihood, including the practice of law.
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