The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1916, Page 20, Image 22

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The Commoner
VOL. 16, NO. 4
"Up From Aristocracy"
The Career of Louis Brandeis, Named for a Seat in
the Supreme Court
"From March Current Opinion
That thrill which America still
gives, as the Promised Land of Big
Opportunity, arises anow from the
surprising appointment of Louis
Dombltz JJraudcis to he an ussociato
justice of the supremo court of tho
United States. "Up from Aristoc
racy" is tho unique way in which
some of his intimates describe his
carocr. Ho is tho Kontucky-born
son of a well-to-do Bohemian Jew
"Who was drawn to this country after
tho European reaction from tho rev
olutions of 1848. His career not
morely represents professional suc
cess and the development of high
earning capacity, but it is an extra
ordinary idealistic contribution of
personal service toward the solution
of melting-pot problems of American
Hero is a partial record of tho
kind of achievement credited to
Brandels by Jowlsh Comment:
"Ho has established a new legal
point of vlow in regard to social
"Ho has overthrown old ideas of
financing public corporations.
"Ho has established a now system
Doctor Proved Valuo of Postum
Physicians know that good food
and drink, properly selected, are of
tho utmost Importance, not only for
the relief of disease but to maintain
health oven when ono is well.
A doctor writes, "1 count it a
ploasuro to say a good word for
Postum with which I havo been en
abled to relievo so many sufferers,
and which I count, with its valuod
companion Grape-Nuts, ono of the
daily blessings.
"Coffeo was banished from my own
tablo sorao tiino ago and Postum
used regularly in its place." (Coffeo
is injurious to many persons, because
it contains tho subtle, poisonous
drug, caffeine.)
"I frequently find it necessary to
instruct patients when they tako
Postum for tho first time to bo quite
euro that it Is properly mado accord
ing to directions, then it has a clear,
seal-brown color and a rich, snappy
tasto, as well as health giving qual
ities." Tho above letter, received over ten
years ago, is fully conflrmod by a re
cent lottor from 'the doctor, in which
ho says:
"It is a pleasure to rouder a good
report covering a product of which I
am so enthusiastic a friend.
"I am using in my homo your
Postum Cereal in both its forms,
And, what is more, I am having it
usgd in tho families of several pa
tients in which there are children,
and all unite in endorsing tho fine
qualities of your admirable product."
Namo glvon by Postum Co., Battle
Crcok, Mich.
Postum comes in two forms:
v Postum Ceroal tho orginal form
t must bo well boiled. 15c and 25c
Instant Postum a soluble Powder
dissolves quickly in a cup of hot
water, and, with cream and sugar,
makes a delicious beverage iustautlv!
30cand 50c tins. y
t Both forms aro equally delicious
nd cost about tho same per cup
I 'There's Reason" for Postum.'
sold by Grocers.
of insurance for persons of moderate
"Ho has given a new charter to
working women.
"Ho has compelled railroads to
inquire into what efficient handling
of their roads moans.
"He has stood for tho masses
against tho encroachment of privil
ege and done so without resorting to
tho methods of the demagog or to
tho ecstacios of tho reformer.
"In Jewish matters he has taken
over tho direction nf 7io?isi"
time when it threatened to go to
pieces on account of the complica
tions occasioned by the war and he
has glvon It new life."
Significant, too, is the fact that
Brandois leaves a voluntary labor
court of his own creation for the
highest court in the land. His con
ciliation court is a part of the ma
chinery dovised to keep industrial
poaco between garment manufactur
ers and garment workers in New
York City. Brandels settled the
strike of 1910 by Inducing an agree
ment on tho new line of "the prefer
ential union shop," and was chosen
chairman of the arbitration board.
Tho complex issues there passed up
on are typical of tho legal and extra
legal problems in modern industry.
"Mr. Brandels' mind Is tho clearest,
tho keenest, and the justest I have
over known," says Hamilton Holt of
the Independent, an associate on the
"His unerring sense of justice and
ability to got at the truth quickly have
been a never falling source of won
der ... In the perplexing cases
that have come before us cases that
involvo nearly all the human pas
sions, good and bad a man with an
insincere mind would have been sure
to betray himself sooner or later. If
ever, then, I have met an honest man,
u is L.OUIS Brandels. I would as
soon trust him as my own father."
Yet the New York Press, voicing
an entirely different attitude, calls
the Brandels appointment "a nation
al shock" and an "insult" to the su
preme court itself. This journal, not
long ago a prominent champion of
tho progressive party, says:
"The insuperable objection to
Brandels as a member of the highest
tribunal in tho land is that he is a
man of furious partisanship, of vio
lent antagonisms and of Irredeemable
prejudice, utterly disqualifying him,
or any other man of like tempera
ment and passloiiB, whatever abilities
and virtues he might have, from
acting in a judicial capacity, where
nothing but calm, cold reason should
dominate the mind."
The senate committee, subjected
to such diverse currents of senti
ment, decided to hold open hearings
prior to a vote on confirmation of the
President's appointment.
Mr. Brandels has shown a curios
ly candid streak of honesty ever
nlH the Sfly tlays of Mb legal
practice. His professional and per
sonal associations were those of Bos
ton s socially elect. The president
of a shoe company called him in dur
ing trouble with tho workmen. After
listening to the story of the employ
ees representative Brandels frankly
startled both sides by saying to him
-my client is entirely wrong. What
SS to do to help us out?"
The difficulty was soon settled' The
same candid streak 'appeared in the
latest case of the western shippers
IZ Somf Brandois PPeared ffi
tiia ?SI ate commercP commission.
The case was one of protest against
increase of freight rates. Yet the
hearing of facts led Brandeis to ad
vocate that the railroads charge for
various "free services" they had been
giving, in order to increase their le
gitimate revenues. Brandeis consid
ers himself free to thus deal with Is
sues In controversy because he makes
a practice of accepting no fee in
cases involving "the public" as a
party in interest. In his earlier pri
vate practice he was counsel for the
United Shoe Machinery Company, one
of tho big trusts and an "efficiency"
concern. He severed the connection
and has contended against some of
the contracts, presumably formulated
by him, as being contrary to sound
public policy. Friends impute righ
teousness and courage to him for
such action. Opponents call it "un
professional," even "dishonorable."
Brandeis was a precocious lad.
From the public schools of Louisville,
Kentucky, to a Dresden Realschule,
thonce back to Harvard law school
where rules were suspended to grad
uate him at the age of 20, so runs his
academic record. He paid his way
through law school by tutoring and
had money to spare. By the time he
was 30 he had become a leading light
among Boston lawyers. Fiduciary
responsibilities and profitable corpor
ation practice came his way. Posi
tion and income were assured. 'Later,
"precocity" showed itself in the in
corporation and organization of his
"law factory" on the "efficiency"
lines of scientific management. Then
he divided his professional income
with his wife, who is interested in
charitable work. For himself Bran
deis obtained a new freedom to take
up cases for "tho public" without
charging a fee. In the last 25 years
he has gained an unparalleled repu
tation as the "people's attorney." He
is easily the most liked and most
hated man at tho bar in America,"
according to the editor of the Boston
None of the airs of the sensation
alist are adopted by Brandels even
when he is doing the unusual thing,
and it is mostly by unusual things
that the public knows him. There
wero nrmArn nf Hi nnflnnai nnuni
when Brandeis appeared at the Ding
ley tariff hearings in 1897 "in the
interest of the Consumer." Then it
became widely known that he had
been the brains of the traction fight
in Boston. A measure of city control
of the transportation system through
public construction and short-term
leases had been won and Brandeis
would accept no fee for his services.
Brandeis also put through an adjust
ment plan for Boston's gas supply.
The company is allowed seven per
cent on a fixed capitalization for gas
at 90 cents. For every reduction of
five cents in price (efficiency again')
one per cent is added to the com
pany's dividend. Gas goes down to
80 cents and dividends up to nine
per cent. No fee to Brandeis.
Through the efforts of Brandeis in
dustrial insurance can now be se
cured from savings banks in Massa
chusetts at more than 20 per cent be
low former cost. And Brandeis' ad
vice as counsel for the Equitable so
ciety's protective committee, headed
by Grover Cleveland, is credited with
numerous permanent reforms in the
Insurance business.
In the Ballinger case during the
Taft administration, Brandei! as
counse for .G avis in Alaskan affairs
prevented a "hush-up" where im
portant public interests in the terri
tory were at stake. - X
Five years ago the. press of the
country found a newspaper sensation
in Brandeis's suggestion to railroad
managers that a mitfioA dollars a day
could be saved by applying tho prin
ciples of scientific management to
their business method Branded
nterjected this side $u'Q while nrT
testing, before the interstate com
merce commission, in behalf of east
ern shippers and boards of trade"
against an increase of railroad rates'
Rates were not raised. Noteworthy
instances of increased efficiency in
railroad management have latterly
been given wide publicity.
Brandeis did not succeed in pre
venting the merger of the Boston
and Maine with tho New Haven rail
road system, although his published
facts and figures were monumental
But his predictions of tho effects of
attempted monopoly of New Eng
land transportation and of tho wila
cat financial methods of management
proved only too true according to the
verdict of a public after it had been
"stung." New Haven management
has since become a hissing and a by
word. The crash in New Haven
stock has left in New England many
bitter hatreds, and a large number of
them are directed against Brandeis.
It is the theory of his critics that the
New Haven road would, in time,
have emerged from all its difficulties
but for the attacks made and directed
by him.
Twelve times, at the invitation of
state authorities, notes the Survey,
Brandeis has participated, for Na
tional Consumers' league, in defense
of women's labor laws. He has an
unbroken record of success in prov
ing the constitutionality of laws lim
iting hours of women's work before
the courts of Illinois, Ohio, Oregon
and New York. He won the Oregon
case on appeal to the United States
supreme court. In these pleadings
he presented a new type of brief. In
stead of clinging to precedents and
legal arguments ho offered data to
show the facts of working conditions
and their effects upon the workers
and the community. Ho used the
testimony of medical and other ex
perts on "over-fatigue" and "social
damage." The Oregon minimum
wage law for w'hich he also argued
before the supremo court has yet to
be passed upon by that body to
which he has now been nominated.
Only from such an abbreviated list
of Brandeis's exceptional acts of free
law service can one get a conception
of his status. It is the record of a
fighter, but of one always fighting
within the law, never as a revolu
tionist. Clearly his career has
aroused the bitterest antagonisms.
Conservatives condemn him as a rad
ical and radicals insist that ho is a
conservative. Neither socialist nor
anarchist label fits him. He is more
of an individualist clinging to tho
idea of freedom of opportunity under
fair competition. He says that he has
no rigid philosophy unless the demo
cratic ideal with a small "d" may be
J styled. The trouble he senses is
the lack of social adjustment between
political democracy and industrial
absolutism in the United States. He
Presses faith in the decline of ex
ploitation of human beings once
Americans of all classes clearly see
the facts. His latest book on "Other
Peoples Money" deoIs with the ethics
of centralized control of deposits and
credit whereby impersonal absentee
management of business obtains rule.
Brandeis would extend the domain
iif WTTby, absorbin& the facts of
I iAe Jias tne PInt of view
taught by Professor Wilson before he
became President; law as the record
of society's determination regarding
concrete realities of life, rather than
S-?i?!. 0f tllurab for a technical
state. That he has an instinct for
ethics, a passion for justice and a
genius for public service his friends
consider amnlv domr.nn..t.j tti
capacity for social interpretation of
---w w,. uumifuumou aata is not de
nied even hv fimoa iri . ,.,
conclusions dangerous to the estab-
llBiiGn nrrlAf l
toMiuiH is not.a.jman who would
,no picked out in a-crowd. One might
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