Louis Dembitz Brandeis

Louis Dembitz Brandeis

Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA
Death 5 Oct 1941 (aged 84)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 130 · View Source
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American legal scholar, attorney and jurist, best known for his tenure as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1916–39). Brandeis was the first Jew ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court. He was an important American litigator, Justice, advocate of privacy, progressive causes, and developer of the Brandeis Brief. In addition, he helped lead the American Zionist movement. Louis Dembitz Brandeis, scion of a wealthy Jewish family, was born in Louisville, Kentucky on November 13, 1856. Brandeis displayed his intellectual abilities and love of learning at an early age. He graduated first in his Harvard Law School class in 1877 at the age of 21. A successful Boston lawyer (1879–1916), Brandeis distinguished himself by investigating insurance practices and by establishing (1907) Massachusetts savings-bank insurance. After defending (1900–1907) the public interest in Boston utility cases, he served (1907–14) as counsel for the people in proceedings involving the constitutionality of wages and hours laws in Oregon, Illinois, Ohio, and California. In the 1907 case Muller v. Oregon, Brandeis persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court that minimum-hours legislation for women was reasonable—and not unconstitutional. He collected empirical data from hundreds of sources, including Oregon feminists. In what became known as the Brandeis Brief, the report provided social authorities on the issue of impact of long working hours on women. This was the first instance in the United States that social science had been used in law and changed the direction of the Supreme Court and of U.S. law. The Brandeis Brief became the model for future Supreme Court presentations. He opposed (1907–13) the monopoly of transportation in New England and successfully argued (1910–14) before the Interstate Commerce Commission against railroad-rate increases. In 1910 as one of the counsel in the congressional investigation of Richard A. Ballinger, he exposed the anti-conservationist views of President Taft's Secretary of the Interior. As an arbitrator (1910) of a strike of New York garment workers (mostly Jewish), he became acutely aware of the problems of poor Jewish immigrants were having in America and afterward became a leader of the Zionist movement. An enemy of industrial and financial monopoly, he formulated the economic doctrine of the New Freedom that Woodrow Wilson adopted in his 1912 presidential campaign. Wilson appointed (1916) him to the U.S. Supreme Court although opposition was voiced by anti-Semites and certain business interests. Long an advocate of social and economic reforms, he maintained a position of judicial liberalism on the bench. With Oliver Wendell Holmes, he often dissented from the majority. After Franklin Delano Roosevelt became (1933) President, Brandeis was one of the few justices who voted to uphold most of Roosevelt's New Deal legislation. He retired from the bench in 1939. President Roosevelt appointed William O. Douglas to replace him. Louis Brandeis died on October 5, 1941. Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts is named after him.

Bio by: Edward Parsons

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 130
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Louis Dembitz Brandeis (13 Nov 1856–5 Oct 1941), Find a Grave Memorial no. 130, citing Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .