Brandeis, Louis Dembitz
Brandeis 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 a counsel in the congressional investigation of Richard A. Ballinger, he exposed the anticonservationist views of President Taft's secretary of the interior. As an arbitrator (1910) of a strike of New York garment workers, who were mainly Jewish, Brandeis, a largely secular Jew, became acutely aware of Jewish problems 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.
In 1916, over the protests of vested interests whom Brandeis had alienated in his role as “people's attorney” and despite opposition voiced by anti-Semites and certain business interests, Wilson appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he became the first Jewish justice. Long an advocate of social and economic reforms, he maintained a position of principled 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. Brandeis Univ. is named after him. He wrote
For selections of his writings, see Alfred Lief, ed.,
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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