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Louis Brandeis

Louis D. Brandeis
Louis D. Brandeis

Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 - October 3, 1941) was an important American litigator, Justice, advocate of privacy, and developer of the Brandeis Brief. In addition, he helped lead the American Zionist movement. He was appointed by Woodrow Wilson to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1916 (sworn-in on June 5), and served until 1939. He was the first Jewish person to hold that office. Before his appointment to the Supreme Court he was associated with the progressive wing of the United States Democratic Party, and published a notable book in support of competition rather than monopoly in business. He remains regarded as the most thorough and balanced among Justices in the writing of briefs.

Brandeis was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the scion of a Jewish family originating from Prague.

In the 1907 case Muller v. Oregon, Brandeis collected empirical data from hundreds of sources, including Oregon feminists. In what became known as the Brandeis Brief, the report provided social authorities on the issue of impact of long working hours on women. This was the first instance in the United States that social science had been used in law and changed the direction of the Supreme Court and of U.S. law. The Brandeis Brief became the model for future Supreme Court presentations.

Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, was named after Louis Brandeis, as was the Brandeis Award. The University of Louisville features the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, also named after him.

Preceded by:
Joseph Rucker Lamar
Associate Justice Succeeded by:
William O. Douglas

Last updated: 11-08-2004 11:11:06