A Boston politician called Brandeis “a slimy fellow” capable of using “his smoothness and intrigue, together with his Jewish instinct,” to attain power. Ex-president and future Chief Justice William Howard Taft called Brandeis “utterly unscrupulous” and “a man of infinite cunning,” warning that he “has adopted Zionism, favors the new Jerusalem, and has metaphorically been re-circumcised.”
The next Jewish nominee to the Supreme Court, Benjamin Cardozo, faced resistance as well. Justice James McReynolds — who had refused to sit next to Brandeis in official court photographs — opposed Cardozo’s nomination on blatantly anti-Semitic grounds. At Cordozo’s swearing in, in 1932, McReynolds read a newspaper during the proceedings and could be heard muttering, “Another one.”
There is a long history of judicial nominees being treated with suspicion because of their religion. It needs to stay in the past.
It would be absurd enough to interrogate a political candidate about whether she intended to impose her personal religious beliefs on the country through legislation. It is even more absurd for senators to imply that a judge, who cannot propose or enact legislation, would be incapable of setting aside his religious beliefs when interpreting our written laws.
If sitting lawmakers are allowed to make such assumptions of Catholic nominees, religious minorities could very well be next….
A fine op ed by Rabbi Mitch Rocklin, a postdoctoral fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton. “Keep religious tests out of the Senate” https://t.co/dhjhT8Azbh
— Robert P. George (@McCormickProf) January 17, 2019