The women appealed the decision to deport them. The California High Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute used to deny them entry and upheld their deportation. The women appealed the decision and won their freedom. One of the women, Chy Lung, the United States Supreme Court, the first case with a Chinese litigant to appear before the United States Supreme Court, Chy Lung v. Freeman, 92 U.S. 275 (1876). The United States Supreme Court ruled that the power to set rules surrounding immigration rested with the United States Federal Government, rather than with the states.
Interesting, no one knows what happened to the 22 "lewd and debauched" after they were allowed to enter the U.S., and it was suspected that some, if not all, were indeed prostitutes.
Judge Denny Chin, a circuit court judge in the United States who is famous for sentencing Bernie Madoff, arranged for the enactment of a courtroom drama about the case. He considered the case historic because it was the first by a Chinese litigant, and also one where the court ruled in favor of the litigant at a time when sentiment against Chinese and immigration was rising in the 1870s.
A performance using trial transcripts, "22 Lewd Chinese Women: Chy Lung v. Freeman," was created by The Trial Reenactment Team of the Asian American Bar Association in collaboration with the New York City Bar Association on May 21, 2014, to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
A second re-enactment of the trial was sponsored by a Washington, D.C. legal firm, McDermott Will & Emery.