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should precede judging. Unremitting toil was taken as a matter of course, some of it performed in those dim hours of which his secretaries—the frailty of youthful nature being what it is—could speak, I suspect, only circumstantially. It is no secret that his opinions went through dozens, even scores, of painstaking revisions. If they have a quality that is monumental and massive, it is only because they were granite-hewn and sculptured with infinite care. Those who shared in some small way in this undertaking were given an unforgettable experience of wholesouled devotion to a great calling.
"All can grow the flower now,
Those who knew him would say these things, but they would speak finally and above all of his moral intensity, his spiritual greatness. His was the quality that by a word could lift the heart, by a nod enkindle the spirit. His moral judgments were stern, and they probed deep. To him unemployment was "the most sinful waste." The persecution of helpless people brought him not only the common sense of grief, but even more strongly a sense of shame at the slowness with which the nations of the earth made protest. He was not a sentimentalist. He could not be swayed from a course he believed morally right by being told that it would involve unfortunate hardships. He realized that victories cannot be won without a struggle and that a price must be paid for every advance.
In a life fraught with more than one man's share of sharp encounters, his faith in the understanding and morality of the multitude gave him serenity. He never yielded to despair, and to gloom only when he found too many men complacent. Moral obtuseness and faintness of heart were the enemies to be dreaded. So it was that when he was asked, in the dark days of 1933, whether he believed the worst was over, he could answer almost cheerfully that the worst had happened before 1929. He had his own formula for success: brains, rectitude, singleness of purpose, and time. To nagging spirits he would hold these up as a banner that could never be struck.
It is fitting that we pause at this moment in the world's history to contemplate his life and draw strength from his spirit. For was it not of such a spirit that the poet of another war has spoken: "The pride of the United States leaves the wealth and finesse of the cities and all returns of commerce and agriculture and all the magnitude of geography or shows of exterior victory to enjoy the breed of fullsized men or one fullsized man unconquerable and simple."
The life of Justice Louis D. Brandeis will always be a shining star in the broad firmament of American jurisprudence. He left his mark upon the history of our country. The work he did, and the life he lived, will be an inspiration to those who have never seen his face nor heard his voice. His love for his fellowmen distinctly marks him as one whose heart and great soul went out to alleviate the suffering of the unfortunate, to defend the rights of the downtrodden and the oppressed, and to bring happiness and joy to firesides that had been barred from the benefit of human rights. His dissenting opinions have become the law of the land.
Because he defended the weak and the unfortunate and because he gave his great energies and abilities in the behalf of those who had suffered injustice at the hands of powerful influences, he was marked for destruction by men who cared more for the almighty dollar than they did for human justice. He was assailed as but few men in his day were assailed—he was condemned—he was ridiculed—he was charged with irregularities and misconduct little short of crime. So powerful was this opposition that, at the beginning of his career as a jurist, many honest and conscientious men were convinced that Justice Brandeis was dishonest, unprofessional, and unworthy to sit as a justice upon the highest court of the land. His nomination by President Wilson to become a Justice of the Supreme Court was a signal for special interests, politically and financially powerful, to do everything within their power to injure this man in an effort to convince the country that he was unfit for this position of honor, and to break down one of the noblest souls that ever lived. It was commonly said of him that he did more as a lawyer to help the poor to secure their rights than any other living man. He did more professional work for nothing than he did for pay; and yet, notwithstanding this, and notwithstanding hands that were clean, lips that were pure, and a soul that was righteous, he was condemned by some of the most powerful influences—political and financial—which ever existed in our country.
When his nomination for Justice of the Supreme Court came up for confirmation in the Senate, one of the bitterest fights that was ever waged in that body took place. In those days, action of the Senate on confirmation was held in executive session; but some of the leading statesmen of the day, some of the ablest men in that great parliamentary body, made a bitter, unreasonable, and unconscionable attack upon this man. Some of these men were moved into action because of Justice Brandeis' religion; but I have always thought the great bulk of this opposition, that which was the most powerful and made the greatest effort to defeat his confirmation, came from a combination of financial interests which wanted to punish an able man who had often thwarted them in their evil ways, and who feared, if he were given this great place of honor, he might still frustrate their efforts to acquire, by questionable means, greater financial power.
Many years after Justice Brandeis went on the Supreme Court, I had a visit with a Senator who had retired from the Senate and was on the federal Court of Appeals. He was then more familiar with Justice Brandeis' work—he had seen the workings of his mind, his heart, and his soul in defense of the downtrodden and the oppressed—he had become convinced of the ignoble fight that had been made to prevent his confirmation, and he told me in that conversation that one of the great sorrows of his life, one of the sad things connected with his Senatorial career, was that he had voted against the confirmation of Mr. Brandeis to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. That blot upon his otherwise excellent record remained upon his conscience, and daily reminded him of what he thought was the greatest mistake he had made in his public life.
One of the charges against Justice Brandeis was that in his professional career he had taken the side of an exploited public in utility cases—that he had fought great transportation companies, and that he had been particularly active in insurance controversies—always in defense of the common man. He had been active in behalf of social and labor legislation, and it was argued that one who had been thus engaged would not be a safe member of the Supreme Court. He was fought also by members of his own profession—six Presidents of the American Bar Association, and a former President of the United States asked the Judiciary Committee of the Senate to reject this nomination. His reputation and his character were assailed, and his professional career was condemned, by these men. Leaders from all over the country were induced in one way or another to condemn him and ask that confirmation be denied. Newspapers of great reputation participated in the attack upon him. The Senators from his own home state of Massachusetts were bitterly opposed to him and lent their great influence to aid in the fight against him.
One great newspaper said there was "only one redeeming feature in the nomination—that it will assist to bury Mr. Wilson at the next Presidential election." They charged that the appointment was brought about by a desire on the part of the President to obtain the Jewish vote. One great newspaper in New York City said that the appointment was "an insult to the court." Leading business and banking firms united in opposing his confirmation. Mr. Brandeis was charged with being a radical, a dreamer, and one who was impractical in his ideas and had socialistic tendencies. Above all, he was charged with not having the necessary "judicial temperament."
A short time before the vote was taken in the Senate, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee invited the President to state the reasons which had actuated him in nominating Mr. Brandeis. The reply of the President was a remarkable document. The President said one reason for his appointment was that he knew him personally and that he knew of his great work in behalf of oppressed people. He said he was moved by Mr. Brandeis' learning and ability and by the conduct of his life in favor of righteousness, of justice, and of humanity. He stated that the charges made against Mr. Brandeis were unfounded and unworthy of consideration. He said these charges threw more light upon the character and motives of those with whom they originated than they did upon the qualifications of Mr. Brandeis. He claimed that he had personally investigated and found that they were brought about by hatred against Mr. Brandeis because he had refused to be subservient to them in the promotion of their own selfish interests. The President stated that Mr. Brandeis "is a friend of all just men and a lover of the right; and he knows more than how to talk about the right—he knows how to set it forward in the face of its enemies. I knew from direct personal knowledge of the man what I was doing when I named him for the highest and most responsible tribunal of the nation.
"Of his extraordinary ability as a lawyer, no man who is competent to judge can speak with anything but the highest admiration. You will remember that in the opinion of the late Chief Justice Fuller, he was the ablest man who ever appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States. 'He is also,' the Chief Justice added, 'absolutely fearless in the discharge of his duties.'
"Those who have resorted to him for assistance in settling great industrial disputes can testify to his fairness and love of justice. In the troublesome controversies