Louis Brandeis citations

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Louis Brandeis

Date de naissance: 13. novembre 1856
Date de décès: 5. octobre 1941

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Louis Dembitz Brandeis est un avocat américain, membre de la Cour suprême des États-Unis ainsi qu'un important soutien au mouvement sioniste américain. Un des principaux conseillers économiques de Woodrow Wilson puis de Franklin Delano Roosevelt, il est un des symboles de l'ère progressiste et un des pionniers d'une concurrence régulée. Il a participé à la création de la Réserve fédérale des États-Unis et a apporté de nouvelles idées à la Federal Trade Commission . Il a introduit également le Brandeis Brief, qu'on pourrait aussi traduire comme l'« argumentation juridique à la Brandeis », dont la caractéristique est de ne pas s'appuyer seulement sur la théorie juridique pure mais de reposer également sur des analyses empiriques et sur des avis d'experts. C'est grâce à cette technique qu'il fit avancer la cause des salariés, participa à la création d'un salaire minimum et d'une limitation des heures de travail. Plus tard cette technique a servi à la lutte contre la ségrégation scolaire. Il a aussi beaucoup influé sur la façon d'aborder la liberté d'expression et le droit à la vie privée.

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Citations Louis Brandeis

„Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.“

—  Louis Brandeis
Context: Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914).

„Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.“

—  Louis Brandeis
Context: The defendants' objections to the evidence obtained by wire-tapping must, in my opinion, be sustained. It is, of course, immaterial where the physical connection with the telephone wires leading into the defendants' premises was made. And it is also immaterial that the intrusion was in aid of law enforcement. Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. Dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1928). The last sentence is one of many quotations inscribed on Cox Corridor II, a first floor House corridor, U.S. Capitol.

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„Ownership has been separated from control; and this separation has removed many of the checks which formerly operated to curb the misuse of wealth and power.“

—  Louis Brandeis
Context: Through size, corporations, once merely an efficient tool employed by individuals in the conduct of private business have become an institution-an institution which has brought such concentration of economic power that so-called private corporations are sometimes able to dominate the state. The typical business corporation of the last century, owned by a small group of individuals, managed by their owners, and limited in size by their private wealth, is being supplanted by huge concerns in which the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of employees and the property of tens of hundreds of thousands of investors are subjected, through the corporate mechanism, to the control of a few men. Ownership has been separated from control; and this separation has removed many of the checks which formerly operated to curb the misuse of wealth and power. And, as ownership of the shares is becoming continually more dispersed, the power which formerly accompanied ownership is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few... [and] coincident with the growth of these giant corporations, there has occurred a marked concentration of individual wealth; and that the resulting disparity in incomes is a major cause of the existing depression. Dissent, Liggett Co. v. Lee, 288 U.S. 517 (1933), at 565-67.

„The court bows to the lessons of experience and the force of better reasoning, recognizing that the process of trial and error, so fruitful in the physical sciences, is appropriate also in the judicial function.“

—  Louis Brandeis
Context: Stare decisis is usually the wise policy, because in most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right... This is commonly true even where the error is a matter of serious concern, provided correction can be had by legislation. But in cases involving the Federal Constitution, where correction through legislative action is practically impossible, this court has often overruled its earlier decisions. The court bows to the lessons of experience and the force of better reasoning, recognizing that the process of trial and error, so fruitful in the physical sciences, is appropriate also in the judicial function. Dissent, Burnet v. Coronado Oil & Gas Co., 285 U.S. 393 (1932).

„To Brandeis, as to Jefferson, the key to a successful democracy lies in the spirit, the vitality, the daring, the inventiveness of its citizens.“

—  Louis Brandeis
Vincent Blasi, The First Amendment And The Ideal of Civic Courage: The Brandeis Opinion in Whitney v. California, 29 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 653, 686 (1988).

„[T]hat which is man-made can be unmade.“

—  Louis Brandeis
Letter to Frank Albert Fetter (November 26, 1940), reprinted in Letters of Louis D. Brandeis Volume V 648 (Melvin I. Urovsky & David W. Levy, eds.,State University of New York Press 1978).

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