Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court

From Brandeis to Kagan

David G. Dalin

Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court examines the lives, legal careers, and legacies of the eight Jews who have served or who currently serve as justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan. David Dalin discusses the relationship that these Jewish justices have had with the presidents who appointed them, and given the judges’ Jewish background, investigates the antisemitism some of the justices encountered in their ascent within the legal profession before their appointment, as well as the role that antisemitism played in the attendant political debates and Senate confirmation battles. Other topics and themes include the changing role of Jews within the American legal profession and the views and judicial opinions of each of the justices on freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the death penalty, the right to privacy, gender equality, and the rights of criminal defendants, among other issues.

Cloth: $35 | E-book: $29.99
ISBN-13: 9781611682380
Pages: 384 | Size: 6.25 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: April 4, 2017


  • This landmark collective biography of the Jewish men and women who have served on our nation’s highest court reminds us that, long before the twenty-first century, conservatives and liberals battled over the limits of free speech, the rule of reason, and even fake news. David Dalin’s Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court is that all-too-rare history that serves up lessons from the past that speak to our moment in time.

    Pamela S. Nadell
    president of the Association for Jewish Studies, and Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women’s and Gender History at American University
  • Although Jewish justices have played a central role on the modern Supreme Court, David Dalin’s book is the first to offer a comprehensive series of portraits of the entire group, from Louis Brandeis to Elena Kagan. With memorable details and gripping narrative, Dalin provides an invaluable account of the contributions of these remarkable justices, who continue to shape our understanding of the Constitution today.

    Jeffrey Rosen
    president and CEO, National Constitution Center, and author of Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet
  • The scholarship behind this work is impressive. The writing is authoritative, and the research and knowledge displayed are extraordinary. . . . this will be the go-to book regarding Jews and the Supreme Court.

    Gil Troy
    Professor of history, McGill University, and author of The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s
  • David Dalin’s book is a fascinating history of American law, of Jewish accomplishment in the American legal field, and of the lives of the Jewish Justices who have served on the Supreme Court.

    Rabbi David Wolpe
    Sinai Temple (Los Angeles); author of David: The Divided Heart)
  • David Dalin has provided an engaging and well written book on the eight Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court. It will be essential reading for students of Supreme Court history, for students of American Jewish history, and for all those who think about the relationship between Jews and the legal profession. Dalin offers a unique perspective on important aspects of American history.

    Marshall Breger
    Professor of Law, Columbus School of Law at Catholic University

About the Author

David G. Dalin

Dr. David Dalin, Senior Research Fellow at Brandeis University, is an ordained rabbi and widely published scholar of American Jewish history. Dalin is the author or co-author of 12 books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience (co-authored with Prof. Jonathan D. Sarna).

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