Oyez! RBG Opens the LDB Centennial

Mike Lovett

Exactly a century after Brandeis University’s namesake, Louis D. Brandeis, was nominated to the nation’s highest court on Jan. 28, 1916, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to campus to celebrate his legacy and continuing influence on American jurisprudence.

During the first of many LDB centennial events held this spring, Ginsburg addressed more than 2,500 students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered at Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. (See a video of her complete remarks at goo.gl/69qzMJ.)

Ginsburg praised Brandeis for his commitment to protecting civil liberties, his willingness to change with the times, and his fact-based approach to writing legal briefs, which she said she emulates. 

She said she had “no doubt” that Brandeis would have agreed with the court’s recent landmark decision upholding key pieces of the Affordable Care Act, and that he “would have deplored” the Citizens United ruling, which prohibits the government from restricting political-campaign spending by organizations, including corporations.

Ginsburg’s address was followed by a panel discussion titled “Louis D. Brandeis, the Supreme Court and American Democracy,” which included Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; Philippa Strum ’59, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Jeffrey Toobin, legal-affairs reporter at The New Yorker; and U.S. District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf.

Centennial events later in the semester focused on different aspects of Justice Brandeis’ legacy, including the transformation of Zionism; citizenship and the economy; and privacy, technology and the modern self. To mark the centennial, the university created a series of very short videos, “Still Learning From Louis,” featuring alumni, faculty and students. Watch them at goo.gl/Sh9fyv.

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