|Birth Day:||November 13, 1856|
|Death Date:||October 5, 1941(1941-10-05) (aged 84)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Birth Place:||Louisville, Kentucky, United States|
|#1||Elizabeth Brandeis Raushenbush||Children||N/A||N/A||N/A|
As per our current Database, Louis Brandeis died on October 5, 1941(1941-10-05) (aged 84)
Washington, D.C., U.S..
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
Louis David Brandeis (later: Louis Dembitz Brandeis — see below) was born on November 13, 1856, in Louisville, Kentucky, the youngest of four children. His parents, Adolph Brandeis and Frederika Dembitz, both of whom were Frankist Jews, immigrated to the United States from their childhood homes in Prague, Bohemia (then part of the Austrian Empire). They emigrated as part of their extended families for both economic and political reasons. The Revolutions of 1848 had produced a series of political upheavals and the families, though politically liberal and sympathetic to the rebels, were shocked by the antisemitic riots that erupted in Prague while the rebels controlled it. In addition, the Habsburg Empire had imposed business taxes on Jews. Family elders sent Adolph Brandeis to America to observe and prepare for his family's possible emigration. He spent a few months in the Midwest and was impressed by the nation's institutions and by the tolerance among the people he met. He wrote home to his wife, "America's progress is the triumph of the rights of man."
Louis grew up in "a family enamored with books, music, and politics, perhaps best typified by his revered uncle, Lewis Dembitz, a refined, educated man who served as a delegate to the Republican convention in 1860 that nominated Abraham Lincoln for president."
The Brandeis family chose to settle in Louisville partly because it was a prosperous river port. His earliest childhood was shaped by the American Civil War, which forced the family to seek safety temporarily in Indiana. The Brandeis family held abolitionist beliefs that angered their Louisville neighbors. Louis's father developed a grain-merchandising business. Worries about the U.S. economy took the family to Europe in 1872, but they returned in 1875.
In school, Louis was a serious student in languages and other basic courses and usually achieved top scores. Brandeis graduated from the Louisville Male High School at age 14 with the highest honors. When he was 16, the Louisville University of the Public Schools awarded him a gold medal for "excellence in all his studies." Anticipating an economic downturn, Adolph Brandeis relocated the family to Europe in 1872. After a period spent traveling, Louis spent two years studying at the Annenschule [de] in Dresden, Germany, where he excelled. He later credited his capacity for critical thinking and his desire to study law in the United States to his time there.
Returning to the U.S. in 1875, Brandeis entered Harvard Law School at the age of 18. His admiration for the wide learning and debating skills of his uncle, Lewis Dembitz, inspired him to study law. Despite the fact that he entered the school without any financial help from his family, he became "an extraordinary student".
After graduation, he stayed on at Harvard for another year, where he continued to study law on his own while also earning a small income by tutoring other law students. In 1878, he was admitted to the Missouri bar and accepted a job with a law firm in St. Louis, where he filed his first brief and published his first law review article. After seven months, he tired of the minor casework and accepted an offer by his Harvard classmate, Samuel D. Warren, to set up a law firm in Boston. They were close friends at Harvard where Warren ranked second in the class to Brandeis's first. Warren was also the son of a wealthy Boston family and their new firm was able to benefit from his family's connections.
Brandeis and Warren's firm has been in continuous practice in Boston since its founding in 1879; the firm is known as Nutter McClennen & Fish.
Between 1888 and 1890, Brandeis and his law partner, Samuel Warren, wrote three scholarly articles published in the Harvard Law Review. The third, "The Right to Privacy," was the most important, with legal scholar Roscoe Pound saying it accomplished "nothing less than adding a chapter to our law."
As partner in his law firm, he worked as a consultant and advisor to businesses, but also as a litigator who enjoyed courtroom challenges. In a letter to his brother, he writes, "There is a certain joy in the exhaustion and backache of a long trial which shorter skirmishes cannot afford." On November 6, 1889, he argued for the first time before the U.S. Supreme Court as the Eastern counsel of the Wisconsin Central Railroad and won. Soon after, Chief Justice Melville Fuller recommended him to a friend as the best attorney he knew of in the Eastern U.S.
In 1889, Brandeis entered a new phase in his legal career when his partner, Samuel Warren, withdrew from their partnership to take over his recently-deceased father's paper company. Brandeis then took on cases with the help of colleagues, two of whom became partners in 1897 in his new firm: Brandeis, Dunbar, and Nutter.
In 1890, Brandeis became engaged to his second cousin Alice Goldmark, of New York. He was then 34 years of age and had previously found little time for courtship. Alice was the daughter of Joseph Goldmark, a physician who had immigrated to America from Austria-Hungary after the collapse of the Revolution of 1848. They were married on March 23, 1891, at the home of her parents in New York City in a civil ceremony. The newlywed couple moved into a modest home in Boston's Beacon Hill district and had two daughters, Susan Brandeis Gilbert, born in 1893, and Elizabeth Brandeis Rauschenbush, born in 1896.
Brandeis was becoming increasingly conscious of and hostile to powerful corporations and the trend toward bigness in American industry and finance. He argued that great size conflicted with efficiency and added a new dimension to the Efficiency Movement of the Progressive Era. As early as 1895, he had pointed out the harm that giant corporations could do to competitors, customers, and their own workers. The growth of industrialization was creating mammoth companies, which he felt threatened the well-being of millions of Americans. Although the Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted in 1890, it was not until the 20th century that there was any major effort to apply it.
In his widely cited dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States (1928), Brandeis relied on thoughts he developed in his 1890 Harvard Law Review article "The Right to Privacy." But in his dissent, he now changed the focus whereby he urged making personal privacy matters more relevant to constitutional law, going so far as saying "the government [was] identified ... as a potential privacy invader." At issue in Olmstead was the use of wiretap technology to gather evidence. Referring to this "dirty business," he then tried to combine the notions of civil privacy and the "right to be let alone" with the right offered by the Fourth Amendment which disallowed unreasonable search and seizure. Brandeis wrote in his lengthy dissent:
He won his first important victory in 1891, when he persuaded the Massachusetts legislature to make the liquor laws less restrictive and thereby more reasonable and enforceable. He suggested a viable "middle course;" by moderating the existing regulations, he told the lawmakers that they would remove liquor dealers' incentive to violate or to corrupt the laws. The legislature was won over by his arguments and changed the regulations.
In one of his first such cases, in 1894, he represented Alice N. Lincoln, a Boston philanthropist and noted crusader for the poor. He appeared at public hearings to promote investigations into conditions in the public poorhouses. Lincoln, who had visited the poorhouses for years, saw inmates dwelling in misery and the temporarily unemployed thrown in together with the mentally ill as well as hardened criminals. Brandeis spent nine months and held fifty-seven public hearings, at one such hearing proclaiming, "Men are not bad. Men are degraded largely by circumstances.... It is the duty of every man... to help them up and let them feel that there is some hope for them in life." As a result of the hearings, the board of aldermen decreed that the administration of the poor law would be completely reorganized.
In 1896, he was asked to lead the fight against a Boston transit company, which was trying to gain concessions from the state legislature that would have given it control over the city's emerging subway system. Brandeis prevailed, and the legislature enacted his bill.
The transit franchise struggle revealed that many of Boston's politicians had placed political friends on the payrolls of the private transit companies. One alderman gave jobs to 200 of his followers. In Boston and other cities, such abuses were part of the corruption in which graft and bribery were common, and in some cases, even newly-freed prison felons resumed their political careers. "Always the moralist," writes biographer Thomas Mason, "Brandeis declared that 'misgovernment in Boston had reached the danger point.'" He declared that from then on he would keep a record of good and bad political deeds, which would be open to all Boston voters. In one of his public addresses in 1903, he stated his goal:
Legal historian Wayne McIntosh wrote that "the privacy tort of Brandeis and Warren set the nation on a legal trajectory of such profound magnitude that it finally transcended its humble beginnings." State courts and legislatures quickly drew on Brandeis and Warren's work. In 1905 the Georgia Supreme Court recognized a right to privacy in a case involving photographs. By 1909, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Utah had passed statutes establishing the right. In 1939 the American Law Institute's Restatement of Torts also recognized a right to privacy at common law. Years later, after becoming a justice of the Supreme Court, Brandeis discussed the right to privacy in his famous dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States.
In March 1905, he became counsel to a New England policyholder's committee, which was concerned that its scandal-ridden insurance company would file bankruptcy and that the policyholders would lose their investments and insurance protection. He served without pay to be free to address the wider issues involved.
In 1906, Brandeis won a modest victory when the state legislature enacted a measure he drafted designed to make it a punishable crime for a public official to solicit a job from a regulated public utility or for an officer of such a company to offer such favors.
Using his social conscience, Brandeis became a leader of the Progressive movement, and he used the law as the instrument for social change. From 1897 to 1916, he was in the thick of multiple reform crusades. He fought in Boston to secure honest traction franchises and, in 1907, launched a six-year fight to prevent the banker J. P. Morgan from monopolizing New England's railroads. After an exposé of insurance fraud in 1906, he devised the Massachusetts plan to protect small wage-earners through savings bank life insurance. He supported the conservation movement and, in 1910, emerged as the chief figure in the Pinchot–Ballinger investigation:
J. P. Morgan had pursued an expansion policy by acquiring many of the line's competitors to make the New Haven into a single unified network. Its acquisitions included railways, trolleys, and shipping companies. In June 1907, Brandeis was asked by Boston and Maine stockholders to present their cause to the public, a case that he again took on by insisting on serving without payment, "leaving him free to act as he thought best."
Widely known as "the people's attorney," Brandeis pioneered pro bono work and was a true reformer. Brandeis was also the first to cite law reviews both in his briefs before the court and in his opinions as a justice. In 1907, he pioneered a new type of legal document, the "Brandeis Brief." It included three pages of traditional legal citations and over 100 innovative pages of citations to articles, government reports, and other references. It was packed full of social research and data to demonstrate the public interest in a ten-hour limitation on women's working hours. His brief proved decisive in Muller v. Oregon, the first Supreme Court ruling to accept the legitimacy of a scientific examination of the social conditions, in addition to the legal facts involved in a case.
However, in 1908, the New Haven's proposed merger was dealt "several stunning blows." Among them, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that New Haven had acted illegally during earlier acquisitions. Brandeis met twice with US President Theodore Roosevelt, who convinced the US Department of Justice to file suit against New Haven for antitrust violations. At a subsequent hearing in front of the Interstate Commerce Commission in Boston, New Haven's president "admitted that the railroad had maintained a floating slush fund that was used to make 'donations' to politicians who cooperated."
In 1908, he chose to represent the state of Oregon in the case of Muller v. Oregon before the US Supreme Court. At issue was whether it was constitutional for a state law to limit the hours worked by female workers. Until then, it had been considered an "unreasonable infringement of freedom of contract" between employers and their employees for a state to set any wages or hours legislation.
By 1910, Brandeis noticed that even America's leaders, including President Theodore Roosevelt, were beginning to question the value of antitrust policies. Some business experts felt that nothing could prevent the concentration of industry and so big business was here to stay. As a result, leaders like Roosevelt began to "regulate" but not to limit the growth and operation of corporate monopolies, but Brandeis wanted the trend to bigness slowed or even reversed. He was convinced that monopolies and trusts were "neither inevitable nor desirable." In support of Brandeis's position were the presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan and Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette Sr.
Part of his reasoning and philosophy for acting as a public advocate was later explained in his 1911 book, The Opportunity in the Law:
Relatively late in life the secular Brandeis also became a prominent figure in the Zionist movement. He became active in the Federation of American Zionists in 1912, as a result of a conversation with Jacob de Haas, according to some. His involvement provided the nascent American Zionist movement one of the most distinguished men in American life and a friend of the next president. Over the next several years he devoted a great deal of his time, energy, and money to championing the cause. With the outbreak of World War I in Europe, the divided allegiance of its membership rendered the World Zionist Organization impotent. American Jews then assumed a larger responsibility independent of Zionists in Europe. The Provisional Executive Committee for Zionist Affairs was established in New York for this purpose on August 20, 1914, and Brandeis was elected president of the organization. As president from 1914 to 1918, Brandeis became the leader and spokesperson of American Zionism. He embarked on a speaking tour in the fall and winter of 1914–1915 to garner support for the Zionist cause, emphasizing the goal of self-determination and freedom for Jews through the development of a Jewish homeland.
Nevertheless, during Wilson's first year as president, Brandeis was instrumental in shaping the new Federal Reserve Act. His arguments had been decisive in breaking deadlock on banking issues. Wilson endorsed Brandeis's proposals and those of Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, both of whom felt that the banking system needed to be democratized and its currency issued and controlled by the government. They convinced Congress to enact the Federal Reserve Act in December 1913.
In 1913, Brandeis wrote a series of articles for Harper's Weekly that suggested ways of curbing the power of large banks and money trusts. And in 1914 he published a book entitled Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It.
Within a few years, New Haven's finances were undone, just as Brandeis had predicted. By the spring of 1913, the Department of Justice launched a new investigation, and the next year, the Interstate Commerce Commission charged the New Haven with "extravagance and political corruption and its board of directors with dereliction of duty." As a result, the New Haven gave up its struggle for expansion by disposing of its Boston and Maine stock and selling off its recent acquisitions of competitors. As Mason describes it, "after a nine-year battle against a powerful corporation... and in the face of a long, bitter campaign of personal abuse and vilification, Brandeis and his cause again prevailed." A newspaper in 1914 describes Brandeis as someone "whose prophecies of disaster to the New Haven Railroad have been fully justified."
Early in the war, Jewish leaders determined that they needed to elect a special representative body to attend the peace conference as spokesman for the religious, national and political rights of Jews in certain European countries, especially to guarantee that Jewish minorities were included wherever minority rights were recognized. Under the leadership of Brandeis, Stephen Wise and Julian Mack, the Jewish Congress Organization Committee was established in March 1915. The subsequent vehement debate about the idea of a "congress" stirred the feelings of American Jews and acquainted them with the Jewish problem. Brandeis's efforts to bring in the American Jewish Committee and some other Jewish organizations were unsuccessful; these organizations were quite willing to participate in a conference of appointed representatives, but were opposed to Brandeis's idea of convening a congress of delegates elected by the Jewish population.
On January 28, 1916, Wilson surprised the nation by nominating Brandeis to become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. His nomination was bitterly contested and denounced by conservative Republicans, including former President William Howard Taft, whose credibility was damaged by Brandeis in early court battles in which he called Taft a "muckraker". Further opposition came from members of the legal profession, including former Attorney General George W. Wickersham and former presidents of the American Bar Association, such as former Senator and Secretary of State Elihu Root of New York, who claimed Brandeis was "unfit" to serve on the Supreme Court.
A month later, on June 1, 1916, the Senate officially confirmed his nomination by a vote of 47 to 22. Forty-four Democratic Senators and three Republicans (Robert La Follette, George Norris, and Miles Poindexter) voted in favor of confirming Brandeis. Twenty-one Republican senators and one Democrat (Francis G. Newlands) voted against his confirmation.
The following year, however, delegates representing over one million Jews came together in Philadelphia and elected a National Executive Committee with Brandeis as honorary chairman. On April 6, 1917, America entered the war. On June 10, 1917, 335,000 American Jews cast their votes and elected their delegates who, together with representatives of some 30 national organizations, established the American Jewish Congress on a democratically elected basis, but further efforts to organize awaited the end of the war.
In October 1918, he helped Thomas Garrigue Masaryk to create "Washington Declaration" for the founding of a new independent Czechoslovakia.
There was a strong conservative streak in the U.S. beginning with World War I and into the 1920s, and this conservatism was reflected in decisions of the Supreme Court. Both Brandeis and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. often dissented and became known for consistently challenging the majority's view. (However, both men approved the restrictive Schenck v. United States decision in 1919 and the pro-sterilization Buck v. Bell decision in 1927). These dissents were most noteworthy in cases dealing with the free speech rights of defendants who had expressed opposition to the military draft. Justice Holmes developed the concept of "clear and present danger" as the test any restriction on speech had to meet. Both Holmes and Brandeis used this doctrine in other cases. Vile points out that Brandeis was "spurred by his appreciation for democracy, education, and the value of free speech and continued to argue vigorously for ... free speech even in wartime because of its educational value and the importance to democracy." And according to legal historian John Raeburn Green, Brandeis's philosophy influenced Justice Holmes himself, and writes that "Justice Holmes's conversion to a profound attachment to freedom of expression ... may be taken to have occurred in 1919, and to have coincided roughly with the advent of Mr. Justice Brandeis's influence."
Brandeis also brought his influence to bear on the Wilson administration in the negotiations leading up to the Balfour Declaration and the Paris Peace Conference. In July 1919 he visited Palestine.
Later in 1919 Brandeis broke with Chaim Weizmann, the leader of the European Zionism. In 1921 Weizmann's candidates, headed by Louis Lipsky, defeated Brandeis's for political control of the Zionist Organization of America. Brandeis resigned from the ZOA, along with his closest associates Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Judge Julian W. Mack and Felix Frankfurter. His ouster was devastating to the movement, and by 1929 there were no more than 18,000 members in the ZOA. Nonetheless he remained active in philanthropy directed at Jews in Palestine. In the summer of 1930, these two factions and visions of Zionism, would come to a compromise largely on Brandeis's terms, with a changed leadership structure for the ZOA. In the late 1930s he endorsed immigration to Palestine in an effort to help European Jews escape genocide when Britain denied entry to more Jews.
In 1934, Brandeis had another legal confrontation with Morgan, this one relating to securities regulation bills. J. P. Morgan's resident economist, Russell Leffingwell, felt it necessary to remind their banker, Tom Lamont, about the person with whom they would be dealing:
Brandeis retired from the Supreme Court on February 13, 1939, and he died on October 5, 1941, following a heart attack.
In succeeding years his right of privacy concepts gained powerful disciples who relied on his dissenting opinion: Justice Frank Murphy, in 1942, used his Harvard Law Review article in writing an opinion for the Court; a few years later, Justice Felix Frankfurter referred to the Fourth Amendment as the "protection of the right to be let alone," as in the 1947 case of United States v. Harris, where his opinion wove together the speeches of James Otis, James Madison, John Adams, and Brandeis's Olmstead opinion, proclaiming the right of privacy as "second to none in the Bill of Rights
Brandeis is a character in the play The Magnificent Yankee, about Oliver Wendell Holmes. In the 1950 movie he is played by Eduard Franz.
One of the hallmarks of the case was Brandeis's minimizing of common-law jurisprudence, in favor of extralegal information relevant to the case. According to the judicial historian Stephen Powers, the "so-called 'Brandeis Brief' became a model for progressive litigation" by taking into consideration social and historical realities, rather than just the abstract general principles. He adds that it had "a profound impact on the future of the legal profession" by accepting more broad-based legal information. John Vile added that this new "Brandeis Brief" was increasingly used, most notably in the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 that desegregated public schools.
Again, five years later, Justice William O. Douglas openly declared that he had been wrong about his earlier tolerance of wiretapping and wrote, "I now more fully appreciate the vice of the practices spawned by Olmstead ... I now feel that I was wrong ... Mr. Justice Brandeis in his dissent in Olmstead espoused the cause of privacy – the right to be let alone. What he wrote is an historic statement of that point of view. I cannot improve on it." And in 1963, Justice William J. Brennan Jr. joined with these earlier opinions taking the position that "the Brandeis point of view" was well within the longstanding tradition of American law.
It took the growth of surveillance technology during the 1950s and 1960s and the "full force of the Warren Court's due process revolution," writes McIntosh, to finally overturn the Olmstead law: in 1967, Justice Potter Stewart wrote the opinion overturning Olmstead in Katz v. U.S. McIntosh adds, "A quarter-century after his death, another component of Justice Brandeis's privacy design was enshrined in American law."
Legal author Ken Gormley says Brandeis was "attempting to introduce a notion of privacy which was connected in some fashion to the Constitution ... and which worked in tandem with the First Amendment to assure a freedom of speech within the four brick walls of the citizen's residence." In 1969, in Stanley v. Georgia, Justice Marshall succeeded in linking the right of privacy with freedom of speech and making it part of the constitutional structure, quoting from Brandeis's Olmstead dissent and his Whitney concurrence, and adding his own conclusions from the case at hand, which dealt with the issue of viewing pornography at home:
The U.S. Postal Service in September 2009 honored Brandeis by featuring his image on a new set of commemorative stamps along with U.S. Supreme Court associate justices Joseph Story, Felix Frankfurter and William J. Brennan Jr. In the Postal Service announcement about the stamp, he was credited with being "the associate justice most responsible for helping the Supreme Court shape the tools it needed to interpret the Constitution in light of the sociological and economic conditions of the 20th century." The Postal Service honored him with a stamp image in part because, their announcement states, he was "a progressive and champion of reform, [and] Brandeis devoted his life to social justice. He defended the right of every citizen to speak freely, and his groundbreaking conception of the right to privacy continues to impact legal thought today."
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