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11 Vand. L. Rev. 783 (1957-1958)
The Brandeis Brief

handle is hein.journals/vanlr11 and id is 799 raw text is: THE BRANDEIS BRIEF
On February 13, 1939, Louis D. Brandeis wrote the following note
to his Chief Executive: '
Dear Mr. President:
Pursuant to the Act of March 1, 1937, I retire this day from
regular service on the bench.
Louis D. Brandeis
With this brief, laconic statement, he ended twenty-three years on
the Supreme Court of the United States at the age of eighty-two. In
frail health, but still retaining the intellectual vigor he displayed all
his life, he stepped down from the bench to make way for a younger
member. This act in itself was characteristic of Brandeis; his respect
for the Court was so great he dared not over-stay his usefulness and
impair the operation of the Court. It has been said that his career on
the bench was the great work of his life, to which all else was
prelude .... 2
He was born in Louisville, Kentucky on November 13, 1856 of
Bohemian-Jewish parents who had immigrated to the United States
to escape the persecutions of the European revolutions of 1848. My
earliest memories, he told Ernest Poole,3
were of the war. One exceedingly painful memory is of a licking I got
in school on the morning after Bull Run. I remember helping my mother
carry out food and coffee to the men from the North. The streets seemed
full of them always. But there were times when the rebels came so near
that we could hear the firing. At one such time my father moved us over
the river. Those were my first memories.4
At the age of sixteen he went abroad with his parents and spent the
year 1872 attending lectures at the University of Vienna, and the
following year he enrolled in Annen Realschule, at Dresden, Germany.
* B.A., M.A., Florida State University; at the present a doctoral candidate
in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
1. Cited in numerous places. See MAsoN, BRAmEis: A FREE MAN's LIFE
633 (1946); N.Y. Times, Oct. 6, 1941.
2. Jackson, The Law Is a Rule for Men To Live By, in 9 VITAL SPEECHES
665 (1942).
3. From an interview published in American Magazine, Feb., 1911, and
reprinted in revised form as a foreword in BRANDEIS, Busmss-A PRO-
FESSION (1914).
4. At that time he was five or six years old, depending on which Battle of
Bull Run he meant, July, 1861 or August, 1862.

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