Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (May 24, 1870 - July 9, 1938)

Justice Benjamin CardozoBenjamin Cardozo was a justice on the New York Court of Appeals, and later an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cardozo was born in New York City. His father was a judge on the Supreme Court of New York, and his mother passed away when he was only 9.

His family is believed to be of Portuguese descent, although his "Hispanic" roots are somewhat contentious. His family were Sephardi Jews, although Cardozo identified himself as agnostic by the time he was an adult.

 Cardozo's Legal Career

He attended Columbia University, beginning at the age of only 15. He then continued on to Columbia Law School. After several years of practice, he was elected to the New York Supreme Court. He was shortly thereafter selected to become a judge on the New York Court of Appeals, where he was reportedly the first Jew to serve. He was later elected to the position of Chief Judge.

Cardozo was notably a member of the group that founded the American Law Institute, the group responsible for creating the Restatement of the Law for Torts, Contracts, and the like.

Cardozo's Supreme Court Appointment

In 1932, Cardozo was appointed by President Hoover, in order to fill the seat left vacant by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Due partially in part to his contribution to the field prior to the appointment, Cardozo was affirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate.

Although many of Cardozo's notable cases were handed down during his time on the New York Court of Appeals, ALA Schechter Poultry Corp v. U.S., 295 U.S. 495 (1935) is one of the more notorious, and additionally one of my personal favorite, opinions from Cardozo's time on the U.S. Supreme Court. It dealt with the definition of the word chicken for commercial purposes.