Sunday, November 13, 2016

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: November 13, 1856 - Louis Brandeis


Photo from the Office of the Curator, Supreme Court of the United States

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Louis Dembitz Brandeis was one of eleven Kentuckians who have served as justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Brandeis was also a leader in American reform movements for social and economic betterment of the working class and the leader of the American Zionist movement. Born in Louisville to Adolph and Frederika (Dembitz) Brandeis on November 13, 1856, Brandeis lived there until the age of sixteen, when he traveled to Dresden, Germany, to study at the Annen-Realschule. Brandeis entered Harvard Law School in 1875 and graduated in 1877 with an LL.B. degree, after achieving perhaps the highest academic record in the school's history. He stayed at Harvard for an additional year doing graduate work.

In 1878 Brandeis went to St. Louis to practice law, but returned in 1879 to Boston, where he practiced law until 1916. He and his first law partner, Samuel Warren, wrote " The Right to Privacy," published in the Harvard Law Review in 1890, an article that is the cornerstone of the legal concept of the right to be let alone. In arguing the case of Muller v. Oregon before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1908, Brandeis included an extensive amount of nonlegal materials, such as social science data, in a legal brief, in a format now called a Brandeis brief. The court accepted Brandeis's arguments in Muller v. Oregon and affirmed a state legislature's right to regulate the number of hours to be worked by women per day.

On January 28, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. A long and bitter confirmation struggle ensued in the U.S. Senate, which on June 1 confirmed Brandeis by a vote of forty-seven to twenty-two, with twenty-nine abstentions. He took his seat several days later. In his twenty-three years on the High Court, Brandeis generally supported the validity of social and economic legislation intended to regulate industry and protect individuals, but opposed governmental efforts to curb civil liberties such as freedom of speech and assembly. Many of his dissenting opinions in time became the majority view. Three of his most enduring judicial opinions are his concurrence (which is in fact a dissent) in the free speech case of Whitney v. California (1927), his dissent in the wiretapping case of Olmstead v. United States (1928), and his majority opinion in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins (1938), a federal diversity of citizenship civil procedure case. He retired from the Supreme Court on February 13, 1939.

Although Brandeis left Louisville permanently in 1872, he materially supported the University of Louisville law school, its law library and the university library by donating money, books, and his personal papers to them.

On March 23, 1891, Brandeis married Alice Goldmark of New York City. They had two daughters, Susan and Elizabeth. Brandeis died in Washington, D.C., on October 5, 1941. His wife died four years later, on October 12, 1945. Both were cremated and buried at the University of Louisville School of Law Building.

Selected Sources at UK Libraries:

Urofsky, Melvin I. Louis D. Brandeis and the Progressive Tradition. Boston: Little, Brown, 1981. Print. Library of American Biography.
KF8745.B67 U70. Law Library - Second Floor

Pollack, Ervin Harold. The Brandeis Reader; the Life and Contributions of Mr. Justice Louis D. Brandeis. Centenary ed. New York: Oceana Publications, 1956. Docket Ser., v. 7. Web.
KF8745.B67 P6, Law Library

Gross, David C. A Justice for All the People : Louis D. Brandeis. 1st ed. New York: Lodestar, 1987. Print. Jewish Biography Ser.
KF8745.B67 G76 1987, Law Library - Second Floor


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