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#159 – Louis Brandeis

#159 – Louis Brandeis published on No Comments on #159 – Louis Brandeis

Brandeis was being called “the people’s lawyer.” He no longer accepted payment for “public interest” cases even when they required pleading before judges, legislative committees, or administrative agencies. He began to give his opinion by writing magazine articles, making speeches, and helping form interest groups. He insisted on serving without pay so that he could freely address the wider issues involved beyond the case at hand. 1Klebanow, Diana, and Jonas, Franklin L. People’s Lawyers: Crusaders for Justice in American History, M.E. Sharpe (2003)

Although originally a La Follette Republican, Brandeis switched to the Democrats and urged his friends and associates to join him.2 The two men (Wilson & Brandeis) met for the first time at a private conference in New Jersey that August and spent three hours discussing economic issues. Brandeis left the meeting a “confirmed admirer” of Wilson, who he said was likely to make an “ideal president.” 4Mason, Thomas A. Brandeis: A Free Man’s Life, Viking Press (1946)

On January 28, 1916, Wilson nominated Brandeis to become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court.5 His nomination was bitterly contested and denounced by conservative Republicans. Further opposition came from members of the legal profession, claiming Brandeis was “unfit” to serve on the Supreme Court.