Samuel Rosenman Walks, Does Not Run, to His Goal, the Supreme Court Bench
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Samuel Rosenman Walks, Does Not Run, to His Goal, the Supreme Court Bench

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By the unanimous voice of both Democratic and Recovery parties Samuel I. Rosenman has been designated as candidate for the position of Justice in the Supreme Court. It is almost a certainty that he will be elected; nevertheless the Rosenman campaign headquarters in the Waldorf-Astoria is a hive of activity.

Under the generalship of Mrs. Rosenman, who is a rather distinguished chief of staff, the campaign goes on unremittingly, without any opposition to speak of and consequently without the need for the usual polemics.

It is a clean, one-sided, orderly campaign, and is being waged on a quiet battlefield around the figure of a man whose election will secure for him a calling for which he is naturally adapted. For Justice Rosenman who graduated at Columbia University Law School summa cum laude fourteen years ago, served by appointment of Franklin D. Roosevelt as a gentleman of the long robe.

Massive, strong, eyes soft and full of expression, with a natural grace and facility of language, Judge Rosenman talked answering simply questions with regard to the administration of justice, cheaper electricity rates, labor legislation, unemployment relief, hospital and prison improvement programs, parole reform, old age security, reorganization of State banking laws, pure milk legislation, etc.


For years attempts have been made by public spirited citizens to facilitate litigation in courts, to do away with red tape. On the foundations laid by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Samuel I. Rosenman, two names coupled since 1928 when the Governor appointed the Assemblyman as his legal adviser in matters of legislative procedure, a commission is today working steadily toward these objectives.

Mr. Rosenman introduced during his five-year membership in the New York Assembly, rent laws to protect tenants from thieving landlords; the progressive labor measures which barred the employment of widows and young children and which guaranteed shorter working hours and minimum wages. He was instrumental in having passed measures directed at improving social conditions and revitalizing the machinery of the State government, and in developing the great State park system which has since become the model for other States throughout the nation.

So close was the friendship that sprung up between M. Roosevelt and Mr. Rosenman that to this hour, although their association has become retarded on account of pressure of business in different spheres, they manage to have frequent conversations and friendly meetings.


Both men stand for essentially the same principles. Both are interested in advancing support to the downtrodden. Both seek generally to improve the lot of mankind, particularly to thwart poverty, combat misery and encourage a healthier, happier American commonwealth. Neither countenances injustice, and when Mr. Roosevelt on March 11, 1932, named Mr. Rosenman to a vacancy on the Supreme Court bench, he said:

“This act is the most unselfish one I ever did because I am cutting off my right arm. In appointing Samuel I. Rosenman, I can truthfully say that I know of no one better fitted for this high responsibility. This comes from first hand knowledge, because during the past three years Mr. Rosenman has been of very intimate and essential help to me personally in the conduct of the administration. His wide knowledge of the law is combined with a liberal social viewpoint on all problems of modern government.”


One of the highlights of his career, a matter of pride to him always, was the bill Mr. Rosenman proposed during his term in the legislature assuring tenants the right to challenge the rent charged them. The law was passed. It is impossible to gauge the great good it has done. But it did take from tyrannical landlords the right to lord it over their tenants and before the bar of justice today a tenant has the privilege of taking the owner of the dwelling on the carpet.

Justice Rosenman thought it best not to speak of current questions about which the writer felt bound to query him.

“I hold the only views about Germany any man can hold,” he said. “The atrocities need no comment. They are terrible.”

Asked what he thought of the appointment of James G. McDonald as high commissioner of the refugees by the Council of the League of Nations, Judge Rosenman said:

“I believe it is a good appointment. His sympathy lies with the refugees and he is in a good position to help them.”


Justice Rosenman was born in San Antonio, Texas, where his parents had immigrated from Poland. At the age of nine his parents moved to New York City where he attended Townsend Harris High School and Columbia College. His career on Morningside Heights was brilliant and varied. He was a member of literary and debating societies, winning in 1914 several prizes for forensic skill. He made Phi Beta Kappa, national society, for superior grades, In 1915 he took his bachelor’s degree.

At the Law School of Columbia, where Franklin D. Roosevelt also was a student although at a different time, Mr. Rosenman made a distinguished record. He was elected to the staff of the Columbia Law Review, no mean honor, and during the World War which interrupted his studies, he enlisted, attaining the rank of first lieutenant.

Following his graduation, Judge Rosenman became interested in politics. He was elected to the Assembly of New York State in 1922 representing the 11th district in New York County. During his incumbency he served on many important committees, including the Joint Legislative Committee on Taxation and Retrenchment, and the New York-Vermont Lake Champlain Bridge Commission.

In 1927 he was named a member of the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission at Albany after declining nomination for State Senator to succeed Nathan Straus, Jr. In his duties as a member of this commission. Judge Rosenman has occasion to advise as to the constitutionality of a proposed measure and as to how to enforce laws in the most scientific manner.

In 1924 Judge Rosenman married Miss Dorothy Reuben, They have two children.

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