What Would Brandeis Do?

Considering the achievement of the American Jewish legal giant, a new biography also asks what he would make of Citizens United and other contemporary issues.

Louis Brandeis in an undated photograph taken no later than 1916. Wikimedia.

Louis Brandeis in an undated photograph taken no later than 1916. Wikimedia.

Observation
Aug. 4 2016
About the author

Rick Richman is the author of Racing Against History: The 1940 Campaign for a Jewish Army to Fight Hitler (Encounter). His most recent contribution to Mosaic was “One Who Fought Back: Herschel Grynszpan and the Holocaust.”


One hundred years ago this year, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis D. Brandeis as the first Jew on the Supreme Court. It was a controversial move, not least because much of the American legal establishment, as well as the business community, considered Brandeis a radical. In response, the Senate decided, for the first time in its history, to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nomination. The four-month process featured 43 witnesses; an anti-Brandeis petition from Harvard’s president and 54 prominent Bostonians; and a letter opposing the nomination from seven former presidents of the American Bar Association.

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More about: American Jewry, Brandeis, History & Ideas