Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Louie, Louie (Brandeis, that is)

Today is the birthday of Louis Brandeis (1856-1941), lawyer, reformer, Zionist, and Supreme Court Justice.

Brandeis book cover
If you'd like to learn a great deal about Brandeis, see Melvin I. Urofsky, Louis D. Brandeis: A Life (KF8745.B67 U749 2009 at Good Reads; catalog record; publisher's page). At 976 pages, this impressive biography takes a while. (I've been reading it for a few weeks and have just gotten to the part about his role in Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412 (1908).)

If you'd like something a little shorter (for now), see profiles on Biography.com, the Supreme Court Historical Society website, Brandeis University's site for its Legacy Fund for Social Justice, and the Oyez Project. The Brandeis University profile includes a sidebar with inspiring quotations, e.g.:
"We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”

By the way, there was a campaign to make "Louie Louie" the state song of Washington. The State Department of Transportation lists it as the "State Rock Song (unofficial)." While interpretations of the lyrics vary, it's pretty clear that they have nothing to do with Justice Brandeis.

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