Sunday, October 18, 2009

On October 18

On this day in ...
... 1929 (80 years ago today), women were declared "persons" eligible to serve as members of the Senate of Canada. Issuing the ruling from its headquarters in London was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain; its interpretation of the word "person" in Section 24 of the British North America Act reversed a year-and-a-half-old decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, which had deemed "person" to refer only to the male person. The Privy Council's reversal constituted a victory for the "Famous 5" Canadians who appealed (image credit): Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Emily Murphy, and Irene Parlby. The case, according to this site, had begun
in 1918 when a lawyer appeared before Judge Emily Murphy and said her judgments were illegal because she was not a 'person' under British legal custom.
(Prior October 18 posts are here and here.)

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