Louis Dembitz Brandeis, circa 1917
By Clinedinst Studio, Washington, D.C.
Louis Dembitz Brandeis visuals collection
Louis Dembitz Brandeis (LL.B. 1877) entered Harvard Law School (HLS) in September 1875, just shy of his nineteenth birthday, and graduated in 1877 at the young age of 20. Brandeis maintained a close relationship with the Law School after his graduation serving as a HLS instructor in evidence (1882-1883), as the first treasurer of the Harvard Law Review, as well as one of the founders of the School’s first alumni organization, the Harvard Law School Association. In what became a highly contentious move, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to the U.S. Supreme Court in January, 1916. Many conservative politicians at the time disliked Brandeis’ national reputation as the “people’s attorney” and a proponent of progressive social reform. Despite this, on June 1, 1916, the Senate voted 47 to 22 to appoint Brandeis as an associate justice to the Supreme Court, where he remained until 1939. He was the seventh HLS alumnus appointed to the Court and the Court’s first Jewish justice.