William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


Wilson Pasley


The Supreme Court's 1999 decision in Saenz v. Roe relied upon the long ignored Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which had laid dormant since the Slaughter-House Cases of more than a century ago. The Saenz decision sparked considerable debate as to the meaning of the Privileges or Immunities Clause and caused speculation as to the statutes vulnerable to a constitutional challenge under the Clause. This Note examines the potential impact of the Privileges or Immunities Clause on state bar admission requirements and other restrictions on the practice of law. It concludes that the Clause does not create constitutional problems for these laws, except for those which prohibit transactional lawyers from practicing in states in which they hold no bar membership, which are unconstitutional under the right to travel identified in Saenz.