The 100th Anniversary of Brandeis’ Nomination


January 28th marked the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson nominating Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court. It was an historic nomination in many ways. Brandeis was the second Jew to be nominated to the Court and the first to be confirmed. (Louisiana senator Judah Benjamin was offered a seat on the Court by Franklin Pierce, but he declined.) It was the first nomination to lead to a Senate Judiciary hearing. It is also remembered as one of the most contentious confirmations in U.S. history. Brandeis’ confirmation did not occur until June 1st, over four months after his nomination.

The anniversary is being observed all over the place, both on the web and in the real world. I am sure more events and tributes will arrive later, but here is a sampling of what has been announced so far.

The National Constitution Center has a nice summation of the nomination fight in the Senate.

Jonathan Sarna has written an interesting piece on the nomination and its impact on anti-Semitism.

Laura Rothstein used the anniversary as a reason to give her annual talk on Brandeis to her Property class here at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. She will also be having a conversation about Brandeis with Mel Urofsky at the Kentucky Bar Association annual convention on May 11th. You read about these and other Brandeis events in this University of Louisville press release.

Brandeis University is celebrating the anniversary in a big way. They had a panel discussion on the anniversary with Jeffrey Toobin, Brandeis biographer Philippa Strum, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg’s remarks on how Brandeis influenced her has gotten national attention. This was just the first of a series of events that stretch out until at least April 18th.

Update (2/5/16): Philippa Strum’s speech is now available at SSRN.

Update (4/6/2016): I just discovered that Brandeis University has been posting all of the speeches in the series.


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