Monday, May. 04, 2009

Louis Brandeis

In 1916, Brandeis became the first Jewish Justice on the high court. But before achieving the distinction, he was forced to endure a bruising confirmation battle with anti-Semitic undertones. Brandeis was an avowed Zionist with progressive leanings, and his nomination by President Woodrow Wilson was assailed by probusiness Senators and corporate titans like J.P. Morgan, who were leery of his crusades for workplace-safety and labor laws. Publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal opposed Brandeis; former President Taft called his nomination "an evil and a disgrace." But at the end of a grueling four-month confirmation process, Brandeis prevailed. He served with distinction until 1939.