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Archive for January 22nd, 2011

Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) American
Lawyer
Known as the People’s Attorney he noted before his elevation to the Supreme Court in 1916, thus, ”In the last century our democracy has deepened; coincidentally there has been a shifting of our longing from legal justice to social justice.”
A graduate of Harvard Law School(1878)and a Boston Brahmin he was committed to public justice and the cause of the working man. He was responsible for a Massachusetts Bill in 1907, providing laborers with their own organisations to supply low cost insurance. Next year found him in Muller v. Oregon presenting a brief opposing hard labor for women on non-legal medical and sociological grounds. An advocate of regulated competition to curb monopoly, acted as an advisor to President Wilson, on anti-trust, banking and labor legislation.
An ardent Zionist he was instrumental in obtaining the Balfour Declaration that promised a homeland in Palestine for the Jews. Of middle class, middle Western, middle European background he embodied two familiar American combinations-Jewish liberal and political lawyer.
An associate Justice to Supreme Court (1916-39) and the first Jew to be appointed, he was noteworthy for his dissenting voice. Bitter opposition to his elevation was as much a reflection on his progressive views as well as his religion. He aligned with liberal Justices like Holmes and Stone. He did yeoman service during FDR’s administrator to defend many of the New Deal measures against the conservative majority of the Court.
Upon his retirement at the age of 83 he turned his attention to the Zionist movement and died in Washington DC in 1941.
benny

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