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Grant number like: FZ-280015-21

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Henry D. Fetter
Unaffiliated independent scholar

Public Scholars
Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

The Nomination of Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court in 1916: The First " Modern" Confirmation Battle

Research and writing of a book on the 1916 nomination of Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941) to the United States Supreme Court.

My subject is the nomination (by President Woodrow Wilson) and confirmation in 1916 – after a four month long battle against some of the most powerful forces in American politics, business and law – of Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941), the celebrated “People’s Attorney” and first Jewish Justice, to the Supreme Court. This is not only a dramatic story worth telling in its own right but, with hindsight, we can see that it was the first “modern’ Supreme Court confirmation battle, featuring protracted Senate hearings, a concerted attack on Brandeis’s character and ethics, and a heated public debate about the nominee’s political beliefs and fitness for a Court seat, with much of the opposition, Brandeis believed, due to antisemitism. Nominations to the Supreme Court have recently been, and will surely remain, a source of partisan controversy. My book can provide timely perspective on recent and future confirmation battles, as well as on the changing role of the Court over the past century.