Under the hammer: Taft’s 1916 letter against pick of 1st Jewish Supreme Court justice Brandeis

The Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles is set to start online bidding at $15,000 for the 4-page letter by the 27th US president to DC-based Jewish journalist Gus J. Karger.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 25, 2016 14:42
1 minute read.
Louis Brandeis

Louis Brandeis . (photo credit: HARRIS & EWING/US LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

A biting, 100-year-old letter penned by former US president William Howard Taft in opposition to the nomination of America's first Jewish Supreme Court justice, Louis Brandeis, is due to be auctioned on Thursday.

Taft's letter was dated January 31, 1916, just two days after then-US president Woodrow Wilson tapped Brandeis for the prestigious position.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles is set to launch the online auction of the four-page letter Taft wrote to Washington-based Jewish journalist Gus J. Karger. Bidding on the item is due to start at $15,000.

Taft, who apparently felt slighted after being passed over for the vacant Supreme Court post, is considered to have been the most prominent public figure to oppose Brandeis' nomination.

While historians have suggested that much of the opposition to the nomination of Brandeis to the court was based on anti-Semitism, the auction house has painted the historical document as an "anti-Semitic letter."

In what is said to be one of the first letters in which the 27th US president and 10th US Supreme Court chief justice voiced his fierce objection to the appointment, Taft lashed out at Brandeis, calling him "cunning," a "hypocrite" and a "power for evil." He also condemned Wilson for what he said was the president's "Machiavellian" and "satanic skill" in making the selection.

Taft's letter also included various references to Brandeis' religion and what could be considered offensive remarks regarding the "clannishness" of the American Jewish population, which he asserted would prevent the community from collectively opposing Brandeis.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


The Kentucky-born Jewish lawyer Brandeis had served as a top political advisor for Wilson and helped develop the administration's "New Freedom" economic initiatives.

Wilson's appointment of Brandeis was seen as controversial in the midst of a tough reelection campaign. In 1913, anti-Semitic opposition allegedly prevented Wilson from appointing Brandeis as attorney-general.

On June 1, 1916, the US Senate voted in favor of Brandeis' appointment by a 47-22 vote, making him the first Jewish Supreme Court justice.




Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

October 17, 2018
U.N. ups Palestinians' stature, makes it head of Group of 77

By TOVAH LAZAROFF