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Jewish Contributions to U.S. Law Depicted at Washington Exhibition

An exhibition depicting the contributions of Jews to American law was opened here yesterday by Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark. The collection which is on display in the B’nai B’rith building includes documents on the early Hebraic influence in American law and personal mementos from the careers of 35 Jewish lawyers and judges.

In opening the display, Justice Clark noted that “over twenty-five hundred years ago Jewish fundamental law first sought to bring to reality the brotherhood of man. Today, this remains as its supreme objective with social justice as its insistent mandate.”

Tracing the history of the influence of Jews in American law, the exhibit begins with Zalegman Phillips, believed to be the first Jew admitted to the bar in the United States, in 1799, and continues through the careers of Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter and Federal Circuit Judge Simon E. Sobeloff, who argued the public school desegregation cases in 1954.

Among the numerous objects on display are items on Phillip Phillips, who died in 1884 and was one of the first Jews to serve in Congress; penciled notes of Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, and legal correspondence and a diary of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo. The exhibition is dedicated to New York Supreme Court Justice Martin M. Frank, a leader in B’nai B’rith affairs until his death last year.

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