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Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority

Louis Brandeis

Louis Brandeis was an associate justice of the Supreme Court (1916-1939) and social reformer best know for work done on behalf of the labor movement, including a campaign to overturn Lochner v. New York, which permitted an unlimited work day for laborers. He was often referred to the "peoples' attorney" for his efforts in defense of the common man against big business. Brandeis, along with partner Samuel Warren, developed the notion of the "Right to Privacy" with an article written for the Harvard Law Review in 1890. Because of his uncompromising support of individual liberties, minority rights, and social justice he is considered one of the greatest justices to have served on the Supreme Court.

Brandeis wrote a brief for a case involving the institution of a ten hour work day for women. The "Brandeis brief," as it became know, was so influential that the Supreme Court upheld the ten hour work day making reference to the brief in its written opinion. The brief also significantly changed the way legal cases were argued by legitimizing social science data in argumentation. Brandeis was also instrumental in establishing the Federal Reserve System (1913) and the Federal Trade Commission (1939).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority - Significance, Brandeis Proposes "ashwander Rules", Louis Brandeis