Alumni News

House Approves Yarmuth's Resolution Honoring Justice Brandeis

Wednesday December 16, 2009

(Washington, DC) Today, the House of Representatives approved – by a vote of 423 to 1 - H. Res. 905, legislation introduced by Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) honoring the life of one of Louisville’s most distinguished natives - Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis - on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of his retirement from the Court.

For more on the legislation and Brandeis, click here.

The text of Congressman Yarmuth’s speech today in support of the resolution is below, and a video of the speech can be seen here:

Mister Speaker, in Louisville, we are proud of many of the great things our most legendary residents have achieved. From Muhammad Ali’s success in and out of the boxing ring to Diane Sawyer’s groundbreaking work in journalism to Harlan Sanders’ achievements as an entrepreneur, there’s evidence of their legacies throughout our community. It’s in the stories we tell, it’s found in the history embedded in our neighborhoods, and it’s seen on the banners hung in their honor throughout town.

We are proud that our city has been home to people who have changed the world in the realms of athletics, literature, art, music, business and – in the case of the man we are celebrating today – law.

Louis D. Brandeis was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1856, the son of immigrants - and it was to Louisville that he would return throughout his life.

It was from the cradle of the burgeoning immigrant communities of 19th Century Louisville that Brandeis began his distinguished career. He excelled first at Louisville’s Male High School and then Harvard Law, before beginning a successful career as a lawyer and academic that led, in 1916, to the bench of the United States Supreme Court when he was nominated by Woodrow Wilson as the first Jewish Justice.

The achievements of Justice Brandeis, however, go far beyond breaking that ground. His legacy as a jurist and litigator has had a longstanding impact not just in the courtrooms and law books, but in the lives of every American citizen. His accomplishments were far ranging, but their influence resonates today and will do so far into the future.

To those of us who treasure the First Amendment and its protection of free speech, we can thank the work of Louis Brandeis. To those who value the extension of equal rights to all Americans, we can thank Louis Brandeis.

The right to privacy, groundbreaking work in the field of labor relations, successful challenges to once powerful corporate monopolies – the list is long and establishes Justice Brandeis’ career as one well deserving of our recognition in this House – a recognition he has not yet received in the 70 years since he retired from the Supreme Court.

The work of Louis Brandeis deserves not just our honor, but our attention. Though the battles we fight today may have changed from those of Brandeis’ era, his work is rich in relevance for all of us involved in lawmaking.

When few others would, Brandeis took on the powerful monopolies that caused economic havoc during the first half of the 20th century. He was continuously skeptical of large banks and their relationship to corporations whose failure could threaten the entire economy, and he helped develop the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 which clamped down on the banking industry‘s most egregious practices. In his book Other People‘s Money: And How the Bankers Use It and a series of columns, Brandeis warned his contemporaries of the dangers posed by massive financial corporations accumulating resources and using them irresponsibly – lessons that forewarned the economic crisis we faced in this country just last year.

As a litigator, educator, philanthropist, and jurist, Louis Brandeis did nothing short of ensuring that the rights we now regard as commonplace would persevere.

His contributions are those for which all the country should be grateful and his legacy is something for which all of us from Louisville can be proud. In fact, his legacy in Louisville lives on at the University of Louisville, where the law school now bears the name of Justice Louis Brandeis.

I join Justice Brandeis’ grandsons Frank Gilbert and Walter Raushenbush, his granddaughter Alice Popkin, and the rest of his family in urging my colleagues to support H. Res. 905, recognizing the 70th anniversary of the retirement of this legendary American, educator, litigator, and jurist.

 

Source: Congressman John Yarmuth's website. Reprinted with permission. 

This news item will also appear on the Courier-Journal's Forum page on Friday, December 18.

Professor Milligan Discusses Constitutionality of Police Use of GPS Trackers

WHAS11 News recently featured a story that revealed the Louisville Metro Police Department's use of GPS tracking devices to survail suspects. Professor Luke Milligan was interviewed to provide expertise on the legal issues, with particular regards to investigations that were conducted without court orders. Milligan said, "The court has a blind spot particularly when it comes to keeping up with emerging technologies.  Today we find ourselves in the midst of one of these blind spots... But it clearly violates the spirit of the 4th Amendment.  And I think there is no question that the court will eventually come around." The report is available at WHAS11's website.

Source: LMPD reveals use of GPS tracking, sometimes without a warrant

Harvard Law Professor to Speak on Campus

Michael Sandel, renowned Harvard professor and author of Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?, will speak at the Chao Auditorium at 10 AM on December 1. Professor Sandel is also the featured guest of the Kentucky Author Forum later that evening at The Kentucky Center.

At the Kentucky Center, Professor Sandel will be interviewed by John S. Carroll, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former editor of the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, and the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Justice, or Moral Reasoning 22, a course in moral and political philosophy taught by Harvard Professor of Government, Michael Sandel, draws more than 1,200 students each year. Sandel speaks to a rapt audience, relating the big questions of political philosophy to the most current and vexing issues of the day. Visit www.justiceharvard.org for a taste of his exhilarating class.
 
His new book, Justice, offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates his students- the challenge of thinking our way through the hard moral challenges we confront as citizens, inviting readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways.

Click here for more details about the Kentucky Author Forum event.

Library Hours During Thanksgiving Holiday

The law library will open from 8AM-11PM Monday, 11/23 and Tuesday, 11/24. It will be closed on Wednesday, 11/25 and Thursday, 11/26 for the Thanksgiving holiday. It will be open 9AM-5PM on Friday, 11/27, 9AM-6PM Saturday, 11/28 and 1PM-11PM Sunday, 11/29.

Mediation Video Contest

The American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution invites you to participate in their first ever Mediation Video Contest on YouTube®. They seek creative, thoughtful, original three-minute videos that demonstrate the mediation process and benefits of mediation. The goal of the competition is to further public understanding of mediation and to promote the use of mediation as a way to resolve disputes. The video need not address only legal disputes.

Eligibility: The Contest is open to everyone except employees of the American Bar Association and their immediate family members.

Prizes: First Place - $1000 prize, Second Place - $500 prize

Submissions are due (via YouTube) by January 15, 2010.

Submissions will be judged by a committee of ABA Section of Dispute Resolution members and ABA staff. The ABA shall have sole authority and discretion to select winning videos.

The judges will evaluate entries using the following criteria:
  • Effectiveness in achieving purpose and goal of the video
  • Overall quality of presentation
  • Overall appeal to diverse audience
  • Overall production quality (including lighting, focus, sound, graphics)
  • Originality, Creativity and Adherence to Contest Rules.
The winners will be contacted via e-mail by February 28, 2010. The winners will also be announced on February 28, 2010 on the ABA Dispute Resolution website. The First and Second Place winning videos will be featured at the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference in April 2010, with over 1,000 attendees.  The videos of the winners as well as any Honorable Mentions will be linked from the Section website. The Section may also post links to the video submissions that help promote and further the public understanding of mediation.

Alumni Profile: Robert L. Ackerson

In 2009, Robert L. Ackerson ('58) was posthumously presented the Lawrence Grauman Award.

Ackerson began practicing law in 1958 and founded the firm which is now Ackerson & Yann. His practice focused on business, tax and personal and estate planning. He was a member of the Regional Counsel and Internal Revenue Service from 1959-1963. In 2008 the Kentucky Bar Association recognized Ackerson as a Senior Counselor for fifty years of service to the Kentucky bar.

He was a strong supporter of the university's athletic program, and the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, a past member of the American Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, Delta Theta Pi and a director of Family Place. He was regarded by members of his firm as a friend, mentor and esteemed colleague-the tribute to him on the firm's website states the following: "We are all saddened and diminished by the loss of Bob. We are grateful for his legacy at our firm and intend to carry on with the highest level of professionalism and competence that Bob provided throughout his distinguished career.

Alumni Profile: Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson

This year, Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson was chosen as the University of Louisville's 2009 Law School alumni fellow.

Justice Abramson serves on the Kentucky Supreme Court. She has served on the courts of Kentucky since 1997. Before serving as a judge, she practiced law for 15 years, concentrating on business and commercial litigation.

Justice Abramson is both an alumna and a staunch supporter of the University of Louisville. She earned a bachelor's degree from UofL in 1977, graduating with highest honors. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Louisville School of Law in 1980 and was named the Outstanding Graduate of her law school class.

Justice Abramson is a past president of the University of Louisville School of Law Alumni Council and is a Master of the Louis D. Brandeis Inn of Court. She also serves as a trustee for the Kentucky Judicial Form Retirement System Board, and is the Supreme Court representative on the Kentucky IOLTA Board and the KBA Continuing Legal Education Commission. She is a frequent lecturer for the Kentucky Circuit Judges College and a 2007 graduate of Leadership Louisville.

Justice Abramson is a native of Princeton, Ky. She and her husband, Professor Leslie W. Abramson, have three sons.

Justice Brandeis' 153rd Birthday Celebration

Brandeis 153rd Birthday Party
For a list of Brandeis quotes, follow our tweets @LouisvilleLaw.
 
The Brandeis Birthday Stamp Commemoration was a great success!  All 153 special envelopes were sold.
 
The success of the day was due to many at the law school. Appreciation goes to:
Les Abramson, Jim Becker, Peggy Bratcher, Scott Campbell, Dean Chen, Joe Leitsch, Kurt Metzmeier, Marilyn Peters, Virginia Smith, Vickie Tencer, Becky Wenning, Becky Wimberg and students Jenna diFrancisco, Lauren Bean, and Jessica Campbell and also to the students in the Animal Law Organization for selling doughnuts and coffee.

~Professor Laura Rothstein

Justice Louis D. Brandeis' Special Collection

One of the law library's most prized collections is the Papers of Louis Dembitz Brandeis. It is divided into ten topical series and includes drafts of speeches, legal documents, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and family portraits and letters dating as early as 1810. Series VII, Miscellaneous contains family correspondence, including birthday cards, telegrams, and a few letters written in German that remain untranslated.

Scott Campbell is the curator of the Louis D. Brandeis Special Collection, which has been visited by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and biographer Melvin Urofsky. The law library hopes to digitize the microfilm and printed materials some day to add to its digital collection.

The law library also contains several books about Justice Brandeis, including the recently published biography Louis D. Brandeis: A Life (KF8745.B67 U749 2009) and Biographical Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court: The Lives and Legal Philosophies of the Justices (KF 8744 .B56 2006), both by Melvin I. Urofsky. Copies of Brandeis at 150: the Louisville Perspective (KF8745 .B67 B671 2006) are available for purchase in the Resource Center across from room 275. These are just a few of the many items that can be found by searching our online catalog, Minerva.

Brandeis Stamp Commemorates Justice's Birthday

The U.S. Postal Service and the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law will honor the city’s native son, Louis D. Brandeis, on what would have been his 153rd birthday.

Brandeis is featured on a new set of commemorative stamps, which also includes U.S. Supreme Court associate justices Joseph Story, Felix Frankfurter and William J. Brennan Jr. Nationally-known graphic designer Ethel Kessler worked with Lisa Catalone-Castro and Rodolfo Castro on the inspired design of the souvenir sheet that incorporates images of the Supreme Court building and a detail from the first page of the United States Constitution.

The presentation will be held at 10 AM on Friday, November 13. Prior to the event, Professor and Distinguished University Scholar Laura Rothstein will be giving an overview of Brandeis with an emphasis on property issues, his distinguished career and his connection to Louisville. The lecture begins at 9 AM and the public is welcome.  In addition to Rothstein, Congressman John Yarmuth, Louisville Postmaster Richard Curtsinger, and Dean Chen will present.

“It is an honor to remember such a prominent member of the Louisville community and to celebrate the many contributions he made for our nation,” said Curtsinger.

Louis Brandeis was the associate justice most responsible for helping the Supreme Court shape the tools it needed to interpret the Constitution in light of the sociological and economic conditions of the 20th century. “If we would guide by the light of reason,” he once exhorted his colleagues, “we must let our minds be bold.” A progressive, and champion of reform, Brandeis devoted his life to social justice.

“Louisville can be proud that Justice Brandeis is so connected to our community and that the values he is known for had their roots here,” said Rothstein.
 
“The principles and philosophies Brandeis is known for – including rights to privacy, free speech, curtailing big government and big business, balancing regulation with free enterprise – are timely today,” she added. “It is appropriate that his enormous contributions are recognized on this set of commemorative stamps.”

To mark the event, 153 commemorative envelopes with a special postmark — both designed by artist Leslie Friesen — will be available for sale. The envelope features a photo of the Brandeis School of Law as well as one of Brandeis’ famous quotes, “Knowledge is essential to understanding & understanding should precede judging.” The cancellation features a Corinthian capital and the numerals 153 to mark his 153rd birthday. It also features the Louis D. Brandeis commemorative stamp. Each envelope is numbered by the artist. The artist will also be on hand to sign the limited edition artwork. The envelopes are $5.

USPS stamp collection featuring Justice Brandeis