Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan

Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan

by David G. Dalin


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Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court examines the lives, legal careers, and legacies of the eight Jews who have served or who currently serve as justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan. David Dalin discusses the relationship that these Jewish justices have had with the presidents who appointed them, and given the judges’ Jewish background, investigates the antisemitism some of the justices encountered in their ascent within the legal profession before their appointment, as well as the role that antisemitism played in the attendant political debates and Senate confirmation battles. Other topics and themes include the changing role of Jews within the American legal profession and the views and judicial opinions of each of the justices on freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the death penalty, the right to privacy, gender equality, and the rights of criminal defendants, among other issues.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611682380
Publisher: Brandeis University Press
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Series: Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life Series
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 739,517
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

DAVID G. DALIN, a historian and rabbi, is the author, coauthor or editor of eleven books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience (coauthored with Jonathan D. Sarna) and The Presidents of the United States and the Jews. His articles and book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including American Jewish History, Commentary, Modern Judaism, the Weekly Standard, the American Jewish Year Book, and the Jewish Review of Books.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments • Before Brandeis: Presidents, Presidential Appointments, and America’s Jews, 1813–1912 • Louis D. Brandeis: “People’s Attorney,” Presidential Adviser, and Zionist • Justice Brandeis: Supreme Court Nomination and Senate Confirmation Fight • Benjamin N. Cardozo: Redeeming the Family Name • Felix Frankfurter: City College to the New Deal • Mr. Justice Frankfurter: The Court Years • Arthur J. Goldberg: A Promising Tenure Cut Short • Abe Fortas: A Tale of Achievement and Scandal • Three Jewish Justices: Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan Join the Court • Notes • Index

What People are Saying About This

Gil Troy

“The scholarship behind this work is impressive. The writing is authoritative, and the research and knowledge displayed are extraordinary. . . . this will be the go-to book regarding Jews and the Supreme Court.”

Jeffrey Rosen

“Although Jewish justices have played a central role on the modern Supreme Court, David Dalin’s book is the first to offer a comprehensive series of portraits of the entire group, from Louis Brandeis to Elena Kagan. With memorable details and gripping narrative, Dalin provides an invaluable account of the contributions of these remarkable justices, who continue to shape our understanding of the Constitution today.”

Marshall Breger

“David Dalin has provided an engaging and well written book on the eight Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court. It will be essential reading for students of Supreme Court history, for students of American Jewish history, and for all those who think about the relationship between Jews and the legal profession. Dalin offers a unique perspective on important aspects of American history.”

Rabbi David Wolpe

“David Dalin’s book is a fascinating history of American law, of Jewish accomplishment in the American legal field, and of the lives of the Jewish Justices who have served on the Supreme Court.”

Pamela S. Nadell

“This landmark collective biography of the Jewish men and women who have served on our nation’s highest court reminds us that, long before the twenty-first century, conservatives and liberals battled over the limits of free speech, the rule of reason, and even fake news. David Dalin’s Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court is that all-too-rare history that serves up lessons from the past that speak to our moment in time.”

Alan Dershowitz

“I thought I knew a lot about the Supreme Court’s eight Jewish justices, since I have known six of them personally. But I learned so much more from David Dalin's brilliant and readable account of their very different lives and connections to their Jewish heritage. A must read for anyone interested in Jewish, American or legal history.”

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