« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
the rights existing or belonging to that condition or capacity. The words "or citizen of a state," used in the previous paragraph are carefully omitted here. In Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Constitution of the United States it had already provided in this language, viz: "the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the citizens in the several states.” The rights of citizens of the states and of citizens of the United States are each guarded by these different provisions. That these rights were separate and distinct, was held in the Slaughter House Cases recently decided by the United States Supreme Court at Washington. The rights of citizens of the state, as such, are not under consideration in the Fourteenth Amendment. They stand as they did before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, and are fully guaranteed by other provisions. The rights of citizens of the states have been the subject of judicial decision on more than one occasion.17
These are the fundamental privileges and immunities belonging of right to the citizens of all free governments, such as the right of life and liberty; the right to acquire and possess property, to transact business, to pursue happiness in his own manner, subject to such restraint as the Government may adjudge to be necessary for the general good. In Cromwell v. Nevada,18 is found a statement of some of the rights of a citizen of the United States, viz: “To come to the seat of the Government to assert any claim he may have upon the Government, to transact any business he may have with it; to seek its protection; to share its offices; to engage in administering its functions. He has a right of free access to its seaports through which all operations of foreign commerce are conducted, to the sub-treasuries, land offices, and courts of justice in the several states." Another privilege of a citizen of the United States, says Miller, Justice, in the Slaughter House cases, is to demand the care and pro
17 Corfield v. Coryell, 4 Wash., C. C., 371. Ward v. Maryland; 12 Wall., 430. Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wall., 140.
18 6 Wall. 36.
tection of the Federal Government over his life, liberty and property when on the high seas or within the jurisdiction of a foreign government. The right to assemble and petition for a redress of grievances, the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus, he says, are rights of the citizen guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
The right of voting, or the privilege of voting, is a right or privilege arising under the Constitution of the state, and not of the United States. The qualifications are different in the different states. Citizenship, age, sex, residence, are variously required in the different states, or may be so. If the right belongs to any particular person, it is because such person is entitled to it by the laws of the state where he offers to exercise it, and not because of citizenship of the United States. If the state of New York should provide that no person should vote until he had reached the age of thirty-one years, or after he had reached the age of fifty, or that no person having gray hair, or who had not the use of all his limbs should be entitled to vote, I do not see how it could be held to be a violation of any right derived or held under the Constitution of the United States. 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 v. Coryell. 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 sēcond, under the Fifteenth 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 the 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 rightthat is a right belonging to the claimant as a citizen of the United States.
This right, however, exists by virtue of the Fifteenth Amendment. If the Fifteenth 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 Fourteenth or of the Fifteenth Amendment. This view is assumed in the second section of the Fourteenth 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 fo 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 Fourteenth 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 Fourteenth 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 Fourteenth 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 cannot 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 respon. sible 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 fact19 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.
Upon this evidence I suppose there is no question for the jury and that the jury should be directed to find a verdict of guilty.
Mr. 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
19 Hamilton v. People, 57 Barb., 625; State v. Boyet, 10 Ired., 336; State v. Hart, 6 Jones, 389; McGuire v. State, 7 Humph., 54.