Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People

By Claude Moore Fuess | Go to book overview

VI
From State to Nation

THE STORY of Joseph B. Eastman's appointment to the Interstate Commerce Commission shows how an older person's sponsorship can at a doubtful moment determine the course of a promising younger man's career. Mr. Justice Holmes had a genius for selecting as his secretaries ambitious law school graduates who turned out to be sound jurists and administrators. Louis D. Brandeis was also a good picker. Perceiving early the outstanding qualities and potentialities of Felix Frankfurter, Joseph B. Eastman, and several others, he did his best to place them where they would be most effective. In Eastman's case he was behind the scenes, saying just the right word at just the right time to make it decisive.

Brandeis was the more sympathetic with his juniors because of his own painful experience. On January 28, 1916, President Wilson appointed him Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to succeed Justice Joseph L. Lamar, who had died a few weeks earlier. The reaction against this nomination was spontaneous, nation-wide, and violent. Protests were voiced from many quarters, including a group of fifty-five Proper Bostonians, headed by Charles Francis Adams and A. Lawrence Lowell. Naturally, all the railroad men and financiers whom Brandeis had assailed were among those who raised objections. There was an under-cover campaign because of his race, but openly his critics declared that he was temperamentally unfit for a high judicial position, and it was asserted that his reputation as a lawyer was such that he did not enjoy "the confidence of the people." Even a number of former presidents of the American Bar Association, including William H. Taft, Elihu Root, Joseph H. Choate, Moorfield Storey, and others of hardly less distinction, expressed the opinion that "taking into view the reputation, character, and professional career of Mr. Louis D. Brandeis, he is not a fit per-

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Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • I - Yankee Background 3
  • II - Growing Up 8
  • III - An Amherst Education 19
  • IV - Apprenticeship in Public Service 37
  • V - Transition to Power 61
  • VI - From State to Nation 80
  • VII - The Independent Commissioner 96
  • VIII - The Prosperity Era 126
  • IX - Valuation Is Vexation 153
  • X - Problems and Policies 166
  • XI - Federal Coordinator of Transportation 180
  • XII - The Coordinator's Task and Achievements 211
  • XIII - Eastman and the New Deal 245
  • XIV - The Last Big Job 270
  • XV - The End of the Road 297
  • XVI - The Measure of a Man 312
  • Index 345
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