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The First Monday in October


Monday October 5th (the first Monday in October) is the start of the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court website provides information about the history of the court, its members, oral argument calendar and slip opinions.

Last week the U.S. Postal Service issued a series of commemorative stamps honoring four U.S. Supreme Court Justices: Joseph Story, Louis D. Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter and William J. Brennan Jr.

The U.S. Postal Service press release provides the following information about the honored justices:

Joseph Story (1779-1845)
Joseph Story ranks as one of the nation’s most influential jurists. The author of dozens of volumes of legal commentary, Story, who viewed law as a science, gave shape to American jurisprudence while also making the law more accessible to practicing attorneys. His devotion to the uniform enforcement of federal regulations by all the states helped establish the preeminence of the Supreme Court.

Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941)
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.

Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965)
Felix Frankfurter was arguably one of the most enigmatic and controversial figures ever to sit on the Supreme Court. As the Court’s strongest proponent of judicial restraint, Frankfurter, who served 23 years as an associate justice, believed that judges should disregard their own social views when making decisions. “History teaches,” he wrote, “that the independence of the judiciary is jeopardized when courts become embroiled in the passions of the day.”

William J. Brennan Jr. (1906-1997)
William J. Brennan Jr. was the author of numerous landmark decisions and the inspiration behind many others. He believed that law is an essential force for social and political change. The Court’s most determined opponent of the death penalty, he championed equal rights for all citizens and steadfastly regarded the Constitution as a living document that should be interpreted to fit modern life.


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