Sunday, May 26, 2019

Philosophy & Jurisprudence: The Thoughts and Methods of Holmes, Cardozo, and Brandeis

By David Dickinson
David Dickinson just completed his 2nd year at Albany Law School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hobart College with a minor in international relations.
Prior to attending law school, David worked for four years at the New York State Department of Labor. While a student at Albany Law, David has served as a faculty research assistant and the student editor-in-chief of The New York Environmental Lawyer, a publication of the Environmental & Energy Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.
David’s paper was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s Supreme Court Seminar, Fall 2018.

Supreme Court Justices have often had their judicial philosophies analyzed and described, their evolutions tracked and notated, and their insights in major and minor cases outlined, quoted, and footnoted. This paper aims to draw out, so much as it is possible, some of the philosophical tenets providing the foundation for the thought of three of the nation’s most respected jurists: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin Cardozo, and Louis D. Brandeis.

Each of these Justices had their own method of preparing for and approaching cases, Additionally, each looked to varied political and philosophical traditions to begin these inquiries. For example, Holmes jurisprudence reflects a tension between the thoughts and concepts present in his legal writing, which find their foundations in philosophies, and Holmes’ own desire to be seen as having original thoughts and insights. This tension can be found in his writings on natural law, on common law, and on free speech.
To read the paper, open HERE.