Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis and Social Justice
Press Release · Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Washington, DC

On Wednesday, November 18, at 3 p.m. ET, two scholars, Jennifer Lowe and Brad Snyder, will discuss Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis and Social Justice. This virtual event is free. Register to attend. Watch the livestream on the National Archives YouTube channel.

During the 1910s, an ordinary Dupont Circle row house was one of the city's leading political salons and a meeting place for young progressives, including Felix Frankfurter, Walter Lippmann, and Louis Brandeis. Lowe and Snyder will discuss how Frankfurter, Lippmann, and other “House of Truth” regulars joined forces to fight for Brandeis’s contentious Supreme Court confirmation in 1916. Presented in Partnership with the Capital Jewish Museum and the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Brad Snyder, author of The House of Truth: A Washington Political Salon and The Foundations of American Liberalism, teaches constitutional law, constitutional history, and sports law at Georgetown Law School. 

Jennifer Lowe, author of The Supreme Court and the Civil War and editor of The Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court Revisited: Brandeis to Fortas, is Director of Programs and Strategic Planning, Supreme Court Historical Society.

Louis D. Brandeis was an associate justice on the U.S Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939. He was called the “People’s Lawyer” for fighting for workers' rights and breaking up monopolies. He was the first Jew nominated to serve on the Court. In the furious 1916 confirmation battle, opponents of the controversial lawyer, some veiling their anti-Semitism, called him a dangerous radical lacking judgement. The Senate Judiciary Committee held unprecedented public hearings on the Brandeis nomination. Prominent witnesses assailed him as unfit to serve. President Woodrow Wilson staunchly defended his nominee as “a friend of all just men and a lover of the right.” The Senate ultimately confirmed Brandeis by a vote of 47–22. During his nearly two decades on the bench, Brandeis earned a place as one of the Supreme Court’s most respected and influential members. He developed the modern jurisprudence of free speech and laid the basis for a constitutionally protected right to privacy.

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This page was last reviewed on November 10, 2020.
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