New York (Feb. 15)
Judge Benjamin N. Cardoza, one of the grest Jewish jurists in America, has been appointed by President Hoover a Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, in place of Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes, son of the famous author of the “Breakfast Table” series, who retired a month ago on reaching the age limit.
Thus there are now two Jews in the Supreme Court, Judge Cardoza joining Mr. Justice Brandeis, the former Zionist leader, whose appointment by the late President Wilson was met by some objection at the time on the ground that no Jew had ever before been a member of the Supreme Court.
As soon as Judge Holmes retired Judge Cardoza, who has till now been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New York, was mentioned as his successor. Senator Royal S. Copeland, the Senator for New York, was reported the very next day to have urged the appointment on President Hoover. Judge Daniel Kenefick, who, too, urged Judge Cardoza’s claim, declared him to be the “greatest legal mind in this country”. “He is one of the greatest writers of legal opinions in the history of the Bar”, he said, “and I cannot urge too strongly that he should be given the honour of being Supreme Court Justice of the United States. I know no one as qualified as Judge Cardoza to fill the place of Justice Holmes”.
Nevertheless, it was stated in Washington on what claimed to be good authority about a fortnight ago that President Hoover had practically decided not to appoint Judge Cardoza because, though holding his great personal qualifications in high deference, he had reached the conclusion, however, that geographical considerations must prevail. The present composition of the Supreme Court, which already has two Judges from New York, it was pointed out out, required the appointment of a Westerner, and for that reason President Hoover felt inclined to appoint someone else now, and appoint Judge Cardoza when the next vacancy arose.
The report added, however, that popular pressure might still lead the President to reconsider his decision. The demand for Judge Cardoza’s appointment, it was stated, was almost unparalleled. The White House was flooded with communications from outstanding personalities in the legal profession and from Bar Associations urging Judge Cardoza’s appointment. Senator Borah, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as the leading Senator from the West, urged on the President that he should appoint Judge Cardoza, because “his qualifications are indisputably transcending those of any jurist in the United States”, and therefore “the West withdraws all claim that it had for geographical consideration in the new appointment”.
A few days ago it was revealed that Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes himself had suggested to Governor Ely, of Massachusetts, the appointment of another Jew to fill the vacancy created by his retirement, Professor Felix M. Frankfurter, Professor of Law at Harvard University, who was a member of the Zionist Delegation to the Peace Conference. Professor Frankfurter is one of the ablest and most profound members of the legal profession in the American nation, Judge Holmes said.
A few years ago, Judge Cardoza was offered appointment as American member of the Permanent Court of International Justice at the Hague, but he declined the offer.