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100 years since Brandeis Selected for Supreme Court

Louis Brandeis On June 1, 1916, the US Senate voted in favor of Brandeis’appointment by a 47-22 vote, making him the first Jewish Supreme Court justice. In 1913, anti-Semitic opposition prevented has blocked Wilson from appointing Brandeis as attorney-general.

Former US president William Howard Taft opposed  the nomination in an viperous, openly antisemitic letter.   The 27th US president (and eventually the 10th US Supreme Court chief justice) condemned Wilson for what he said was the president’s “Machiavellian” and “satanic skill” in making the selection.  Taft went on, calling  Brandeis “cunning,” a “hypocrite” and a “power for evil.”   The Jews were defmed as showing  “clannishness” which he asserted would prevent the community from collectively opposing Brandeis.

The Kentucky-born Jewish lawyer Brandeis had served as a top political advisor for Wilson and helped develop the administration’s “New Freedom” economic initiatives.


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