Bergman Memorial Lecture: 100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote

Bergman Memorial Lecture: 100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote

Date and Time

  • Wednesday, March 18, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Theatre & Rotunda

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




USD School of Law is holding a reception and panel discussion commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote. 

Reception & Panel

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Hosted hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine

6:30 - 8 p.m.
Panel Discussion

This event is open to the public, USD faculty/administrators, and all undergraduate, graduate, and law students.


Professor Miranda McGowan
USD School of Law


Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins
39th District, State of California 

Hon. Cathy Ann Bencivengo
U.S. District Court
Southern District of California

Dora Rose
Deputy Director
League of Women Voters of California

Taina Vargas-Edmond
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Initiate Justice

Directions & Parking Information

All vehicles parked on campus are required to display a valid permit Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. USD School of Law’s Office of Alumni Relations is hosting your parking and individuals who register will receive an email with validation instructions. The general instructions are as follows:


  • Enter campus from the west entrance (Marian Way)
  • Turn left at the kiosk guard station into the West Parking Structure
  • You may park in any unreserved space
  • Follow parking validation instructions sent by email


  • A tram runs from the West Parking Structure to IPJ every 10-15 minutes
  • IPJ is a .03 mile uphill walk from the West Parking Structure and takes approximately 7 minutes

MCLE: Materials & Suggested Readings

USD School of Law is a State Bar of California-approved provider of MCLE credit and certifies that this activity is approved for 1 hour of general credit.

On the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, it can be difficult to imagine that the road to women’s suffrage in the United States was actually quite long and circuitous. As in current day social movements, suffragists employed a number of different strategies in their fight to make American women’s right to vote the law of the land. As far back as the 1860s, women’s suffragists even opposed passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments because the Reconstruction Amendments placed the word “male” in the Constitution for the first time, in extending the vote only to African American men. Later, the movement attempted a state-by-state approach, fighting for inclusion of women’s voting rights in state constitutions. Another approach, a legal strategy known as “the New Departure,” brought the issue to the courts. Women voted illegally and then turned to the court with the argument that citizenship itself conferred a right to vote on both women and men. Yet in 1874, in Minor v. Happersett, the Supreme Court held that the privileges of citizenship did not include the right to vote, setting back women’s suffrage for many years. Finally, the suffrage movement turned to the passage of a Constitutional amendment, with a legislative fight that spanned decades. Even after the amendment passed, opponents fought its ratification until the Supreme Court held in Leser v. Garnett that the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution had, in fact, been constitutionally established.

Jean H. Baker, ed. Votes for Women: The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited (Oxford University Press 2002)
Copley Internet JK1896.V67 2002eb (USD users only)

Elaine Weiss, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote (Viking 2018)
CL Book Stacks, JK1896.W45 2018

J.D. Zahniser and Amelia R. Fry, Alice Paul: Claiming Power (Oxford, 2014/2019)


Jack M. Balkin, How Social Movements Change (or Fail to Change) the Constitution: The Case of the New Departure39 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 27 (2003).

Sandra Day O’Connor, The History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 49 Vanderbilt L. Rev. 657 (1996).

Nancy Gertner & Gail Heriot. The Nineteenth Amendment: Common Interpretation and Matters for Debate

Reva B. Siegel, She the People: the Nineteenth Amendment, Sex Equality, Federalism, and the Family11 Harvard L. Rev 947 (2002).

Adam Winkler, A Revolution Too Soon: Woman Suffragists and the “Living Constitution.” 76 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1456 (2001).

Passage of the Nineteenth Amendment
Congressional Voting 1878-1919

President Wilson's Address to the Senate of the United States, Asking for the Passage of the Federal Woman Suffrage

  • Only the third president to address the U.S. Senate in the Senate Chamber, Woodrow Wilson, a converted suffragist, plead with senators to immediately pass the Susan B. Anthony Amendment on Sept. 30, 1918.

Approval and Ratification

  • On June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment was approved by Congress, 41 Stat. 362
  • On August 26, 1920, after the ratification of Tennessee, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified that the 19th Amendment had become a part of the Constitution. 41 Stat. 1823


  • Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874) – Supreme Court ruled the 14th Amendment did not give women a right to vote as a privilege of citizenship.
  • Leser v. Garnett, 258 U.S. 130 (1922) - After a suit was brought to nullify its ratification, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution had been constitutionally established.

Bergman Memorial Lecture on Women, Children and Human Rights

The Jane Ellen Bergman Memorial Lecture Series on Women, Children and Human Rights is the result of a gift from Dr. Barbara Yates, a longtime professor at the University of Illinois and a friend of the late Bergman. According to Dr. Yates, Bergman was “an ordinary citizen who chose to devote her professional life to public service. As a nursing administrator, public health educator, and family therapist, she developed an abiding interest in the human rights of common people, especially the plight of women and children, in a rapidly changing world.” This series is a lasting tribute to Bergman and an opportunity for USD students, faculty/administrators, and community members to hear distinguished lecturers discuss issues concerning women, children, and human rights.

Thank You to Our



USD Student Organizations

Community Organizations

ABA 19th Amendment Traveling Exhibit

USD School of Law is hosting the American Bar Association's (ABA) 19th Amendment Traveling Exhibit - 100 Years After the 19th Amendment: Their Legacy, and Our Future. In honor of the anniversary, the ABA's Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress exhibit tracing the movement that not only secured passage of the 19th Amendment, but also its influence on subsequent movements related to equal rights. 

ABA Traveling Exhibit

The 19th Amendment exhibit features archival images and artifacts, mainly from the Library of Congress, and details the story of the battle for ratification, its catalyst role in promoting democracy, and the challenges that remain. 

This event is open to the public

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