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Louis Brandeis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By eiberer
Words 2167
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Louis D. Brandeis was a United State Supreme Court Justice that fought against monopolies and big business and was a tireless advocate for free speech. Brandeis was best known for publishing his famous article in the Harvard Law Journal, for publishing his book about the banking industry, for upholding laws that protect the publics’ privacy and the freedom of expression and as the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice.
Louis Brandeis was born in Kentucky on November 13, 1856 to Adolph Brandeis and Frederika Dembitz. His parents were Bohemian Jews that had a strong belief in culture and encouraged Brandeis’ education. Consequently, Brandeis graduated high school at the young age of 14. He first attended college in Kentucky but later transferred to Germany when his father had to relocate. He went on to study at Harvard Law School and graduated in 1875 as valedictorian at the age of 20.
Brandeis started practicing law in St. Louis, Missouri and after a short time, he moved back to Boston to start a law firm with former Harvard classmate, Samuel Warren. The firm of “Warren and Brandeis” spent much of their time arguing against monopolies and large corporations and advocating for free speech. Together Brandeis and Warren published a famous article in The Harvard Law Review, “The Right to Privacy.” This article argued that private citizens should have the right to be left alone and the press should not be permitted to publish their photos or the details of their lives without their permission. Brandeis and Warren were angered by the media attention focused on the lavish parties the Warren family threw throughout the 1880s. They wrote, "Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious, but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery.” Brandeis and Warren also 2 stated that during the first 100 years of the United States, the "right to life" referred to in the Declaration of Independence had expanded. The thoughts of Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren were not easily accepted by the courts.
Over the course of Brandeis’ career as a private attorney, he had accrued a large portfolio of famous cases and speeches. Brandeis helped save the Boston subway service and break up the monopoly of transportation in New England by the New Haven Railroad. He also represented New England Policy-Holders’ Protective Committee and established a new form of savings bank life insurance. This also resulted in the investigation of the inequalities of existing insurance programs. Brandeis also defended the constitutionality of state laws that set limits on the number of hours or types of conditions in which a worker could work. In his famous case, Muller v. Oregon, there was a landmark decision for the U.S. Supreme Court. It justified both sex discrimination and use of labor laws. The case upheld Oregon’s restrictions on the amount of hours that a woman could work. Oregon justified the decision by claiming it has a state interest in protecting women's health because of a women’s ability to reproduce. Curt Muller was a business owner in the laundry industry. He was convicted of violating Oregon labor laws by allowing a female employee to work more than ten hours a day. He was slapped with a fine of $10. Muller first appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court. Louis Brandeis, argued on behalf of the State of Oregon. He filed a brief in support of the Oregon law. This became known as the "Brandeis Brief.” This consisted of supporting evidence including historical, sociological and scientific data that was court marshaled to support the case. The brief provided arguments against long working hours for women because of their physical limits due to the responsibility of bearing children. The “Brandeis Brief” became the model for future Supreme Court presentations. The ruling came under fire because it set a precedent for using gender differences to develop separate legislation for men and women. People also felt that it was unjust to support the idea of the family over women’s rights in the work force. Both courts found the labor law to be constitutional and agreed with his conviction.
In May of 1905, Louis Brandeis delivered a speech titled “The Opportunity in the Law” to the Harvard Ethical Society. Brandeis had an overwhelming interest in public advocacy. He 3 spoke about the legal profession and how it relates to ethics. His wanted to illustrate to his audience of Harvard undergraduates and law students that the legal profession offered great opportunities for personal satisfaction and for service to the community. He believed that the members of this audience were able to accomplish as much community service as Brandeis had as the “people’s lawyer.”
Brandeis then published an article in the Independent magazine in December of 1906 titled “The Greatest Life Insurance Wrong.” Brandeis was shocked at the abusive business practices of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of New York which also precipitated widespread alarm amongst the public. Brandeis worked as counsel, at no cost, for the New England Policy-Holders' Protective Committee. He developed a system in which modest life insurance policies could be sold by savings banks at rates that ordinary workers could afford. “The Greatest Life Insurance Wrong” explains the industry abuses and suggests solutions to the problem.
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson offered Louis Brandeis a position in his cabinet. Brandeis declined this offer. The following year, Brandeis published his well-known book, “Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It.” The book criticized the use of investment funds to encourage the merging of different industries under the control of a small number of corporations. Brandeis believed the corporations were working together to prevent competition. He sternly criticized investment bankers who oversaw large amounts of money deposited in their banks by middle-class people. Brandeis accused the people in charge of these banks of also routinely sitting on the boards of railroad companies and large industrial manufacturers of various products. In addition, they routinely directed the resources of their banks to promote the interests of their own companies. Brandeis alleged that these companies sought to control their industries by over powering small businesses and innovators who developed better products and therefore became their competitors. He warned of the dangers of the "money trust" which was the all-encompassing control that a few powerful banks had over the United States money supply and American industry. Brandeis also published a second book in 1914, “Business—A Profession”, Brandeis' second book, is a collection of speeches and 4 magazine articles. The essays reflect a number of issues that concerned Brandeis such as trusts, unionism, life insurance, scientific management, citizenship and the moral duty of lawyers.
During Woodrow Wilson’s presidential campaign in 1912, he was strongly influenced by his chief advisor, Louis Brandeis. This was labeled the “New Freedom” and it comprised the campaign speeches and promises of Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential campaign. With the advice of Brandeis, Wilson called for less government even though as president he actually added many new controls. In 1916, Louis Brandeis was nominated by President Wilson to the United States Supreme Court. Brandeis was Jewish and faced viscous opposition from anti-Semites as well as opposition from big business. He was confirmed anyway and became the first Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Once Brandeis became a justice he still faced prejudice from other members of the Supreme Court. One of the justices, James McReynolds, hostility towards Jews was so strong he always refused to sit next to Brandeis during meetings. Brandeis and his Supreme Court colleague Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. often dissented from the courts prevailing opinions. Brandeis continued to oppose unlimited governmental power. He also opposed the interpretation of “individual liberty” that allowed people to control economic actualities that affected the public at large.
Two of Brandeis’ most important decisions while serving on the Supreme Court were Whitney vs. California and Olmstead vs. United States. The 1927 case of Whitney v. California addressed the conviction of Anita Whitney, who had engaged in speech that raised a threat to society. In 1919, Anita Whitney was convicted under a California law for allegedly helping to organize the Communist Labor Party. The State of California claimed that this group was committed to the violent overthrow of United States government. Even though Whitney didn’t believe in violence in the pursuit of political goals, her affiliation with the Communist Labor Party made her guilty under California law. The Supreme Court unanimously concurred that Whitney’s conviction should be upheld. While Louis Brandeis agreed with his fellow justices in the decision, he used his opinion to explain and interpret the laws of free speech. Brandeis gave a voice to one of the greatest defenses of the freedom of speech in the country’s history. In 1928, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the case of Olmstead v. United States. Several 5 defendants, including Roy Olmstead, petitioned the court looking for a reversal to his conviction of conspiracy to violate the Volstead Act. The Volstead Act established prohibition in the United States and Olmstead was convicted because of evidence obtained through wiretapping. Olmstead argued that secretly wiretapping phones without judicial permission was a violation of his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. This case became even more famous because of the disagreement of some of the Supreme Court justices including Louis Brandeis. Brandeis argued that the protections offered by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments are broad and that interference by the government on the privacy of individuals can be interpreted as a violation of these rights. Not very many years later, Congress passed a law prohibiting the use of wiretapping.
Later in his career, Louis Brandeis addressed Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal propositions. Although he supported most of the legislation, he repeatedly voted to limited presidential authority. In 1935, Brandeis agreed with the more conservations judges in the Supreme Court and in a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court declared the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional because it afforded the president “unfettered discretion” to pass laws in the name of economic review. Also during the Great Depression, the Court was dominated by economic conservatives called the "Four Horsemen.” This group declared contemporary government measures unconstitutional. Brandeis asked his colleagues to put aside what he considered to be their prejudices. Out of public view, Brandeis was a major advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a group of “New Dealers.” He helped develop the Securities and Exchange Commission, which remains one of the two most important surviving New Deal agencies in the 21st century.
During Louis Brandeis’ career he became a Zionist, believing that establishing a Jewish homeland was paramount to eliminating anti-Semitism. Brandeis never considered himself religious, but after being a mediator for strikes involving Jewish garment workers he became very interested in his Jewish heritage. This is when Brandeis became committed to Zionism. As early as 1905, he believed in total assimilation of Jews into American society, a position subsequently used by his opponents within the American Zionist movement to attack him personally. By 1914, he completely reversed his opinion and believed there was something 6 separate and unique to the Jewish race, which was one of the reasons he wanted them to be relocated to The Promised Land (Palestine). He concluded that, "Assimilation is national suicide". There must be a land "where the Jewish life may be naturally led, the Hebrew language spoken, and the Jewish spirit prevail," and that land was "our fathers' land”. With the start of World War I, in 1914, Brandeis turned his attention to the Jewish question. The World Zionist Organization moved their headquarters to the United States and Brandeis became the chairman of the operating committee and the leader of this group. From 1914 to 1919, Brandeis was instrumental in raising millions of dollars for relief of war-afflicted Jews. Brandeis gained President Wilson’s support in 1917 for the British Balfour Declaration which assured the Jews would have a homeland. Brandeis was defeated for power of the organization and resigned. Later in the 1930’s, he supported illegal immigration to Palestine in an attempt to help European Jews escape genocide when Britain denied entry to Jews.
Louis D. Brandeis sat on the United States Supreme Court until his retirement in 1939. Over the course of his life he married a woman named Alice Goldmark with whom he had two daughters. Brandeis died on October 5, 1941. In 1948, Brandeis University was named in his honor. The school is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, a few miles west of Boston. It was founded as a nonsectarian Jewish coed college and is now considered a research university with a focus in liberal arts. Louis D. Brandeis has been called one of the greatest legal craftsman ever to sit on the Court. One of his most lasting contributions was the view that cases must be decided on the basis not only of legal precedents but also of social needs.

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...During the Harlem Renaissance The Cotton Club was one of the most famous nightclubs in history. The cotton club was located in New York City in Harlem. The club operated from the 1920's to the 1930's. The Cotton Club was mostly about jazz. Jazz is the art of individuals working in unison to make one sublime sound. This establishment was for whites only, all though it featured some of the best black entertainers and jazz musicians this era had to offer. In 1920, heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson opened the Cotton Club under the name “Club Deluxe” on the corner of 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in the heart of the Harlem district. Owney Madden, a prominent bootlegger and gangster, took over the club in 1923 while imprisoned in Sing Sing and changed its name to the Cotton Club. A deal was arranged between the two that allowed Johnson to still be the club’s manager. Madden used the cotton club as an outlet to sell his number one beer to the prohibition crowd. The Cotton Club was a “Whites-only” foundation. Even in the heart of Harlem, the race line divided the black performers from the white patrons. Inside the Cotton Club, African themes were exploited and only "jungle music" was played to an all white audience. Duke Ellington put together one of the most talented jazz bands ever to walk on stage to play for the patrons of The Cotton Club six nights a week. As the twenties went on, Ellington would continue his huge success at The Cotton Club into many classic recordings...

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