Preserving the Progressive Spirit in a Conservative Time: The Joint Reform Efforts of Justice Brandeis and Professor Frankfurter, 1916-1933

On January 28, 1916, President Wilson sent the name of Louis D. Brandeis to the Senate for confirmation as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Wilson’s act surprised many Americans and sparked one of the bitterest confirmation struggles in the history of the Republic. The nomination and the confirmation that followed also created a painful and highly personal dilemma for the new Justice. This dilemma led Brandeis to a private arrangement that opened an unusual and revealing chapter in the story of the extra judicial activities of American justices. Even more important, the arrangement constitutes a noteworthy episode in the history of twentieth-century American liberalism.