Students will analyze complex legal arguments as they watch modern-day lawyers in a video argue a historic case.
In this video, watch two modern-day lawyers re-enact arguments about the “privileges and immunities” clause of the 14th Amendment in the 1873 Supreme Court case Bradwell v. Illinois. Myra Bradwell sued the state of Illinois, arguing that the newly passed 14th Amendment should allow her admission to the state bar (a mandatory association for those wishing to be lawyers in the state) and protect her right to practice law. The privileges and immunities clause prevents states from discriminating against residents of other states. Bradwell, who was born in Vermont, argued that the 14th Amendment should therefore prevent Illinois from excluding her from its bar and denying her right to practice law.
In partnership with the law firm O’Melveny & Myers and the non-profit The Green Bag, Newseum Education hosted a moot court (or re-enactment) of Bradwell v. Illinois (1873). The moot court was planned in honor the life of Belva Lockwood, the first woman admitted to the Supreme Court Bar and thus allowed to argue before the court. The program, featuring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was held Oct. 18, 2016, at the Newseum.
GRADE LEVEL: Middle and High School
TIME: 30-60 minutes
MATERIALS: 14th Amendment Worksheet (download)