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Billings Learned Hand ( ; January 27, 1872 – August 18, 1961) was an American jurist, lawyer, and judicial philosopher. He served as a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and later as an appellate judge on the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (in case citation Case citation is a system used by legal professionals to identify past court case decisions, either in series of books called reporters or law reports, or in a neutral ...
. Born and raised in
Albany Albany, derived from the Gaelic name for Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the C ...
,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
, Hand majored in
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
at
Harvard College Harvard College is the undergraduate Undergraduate education is education conducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree A b ...
and graduated with honors from
Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (HLS) is the law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education Legal education is the education of individuals in the principles, practices, and ...
. After a short career as a lawyer in Albany and New York City, he was appointed at the age of 37 as a Federal District Judge in
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
in 1909. The profession suited his detached and open-minded temperament, and his decisions soon won him a reputation for craftsmanship and authority. Between 1909 and 1914, under the influence of
Herbert Croly Herbert David Croly (January 23, 1869 – May 17, 1930) was an intellectual leader of the progressive movement Progressivism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (f ...
's social theories, Hand supported New Nationalism. He ran unsuccessfully as the
Progressive PartyProgressive Party may refer to: Active parties * Australian Progressives * Progressive Party (Chile) * Dominica Progressive Party * Progressive Party (Iceland) * Jordanian Progressive Party * Serbian Progressive Party in Macedonia * Sabah Progressi ...
's candidate for
Chief Judge A chief judge (also known as chief justice The chief justice is the Chief judge, presiding member of a supreme court in any of many countries with a justice system based on English common law, such as the High Court of Australia, the Supreme Court ...
of the
New York Court of Appeals The New York Court of Appeals is the highest court in the Unified Court System of the State of New York New York is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States The United States of America (USA), com ...
in 1913, but withdrew from active politics shortly afterwards. In 1924, President
Calvin Coolidge Calvin Coolidge (born John Calvin Coolidge Jr.; ; July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was an was an American lawyer and politician, who became the 30th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the hea ...

Calvin Coolidge
promoted Hand to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which he went on to lead as the Senior Circuit Judge (later retitled Chief Judge) from 1939 until his semi-retirement in 1951. Scholars have recognized the Second Circuit under Hand as one of the finest appeals courts in the country's history. Friends and admirers often lobbied for Hand's promotion to the Supreme Court, but circumstances and his political past conspired against his appointment. Hand possessed a gift for the English language, and his writings are admired as legal literature. He rose to fame outside the legal profession in 1944 during World War II after giving a short address in
Central Park Central Park is an urban park in New York City located between the Upper West Side, Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan. It is the List of New York City parks, fifth-largest park in the city by area, covering . It is the most visited ...

Central Park
that struck a popular chord in its appeal for tolerance. During a period when a hysterical fear of
subversion Subversion (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
divided the nation, Hand was viewed as a liberal defender of
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgat ...
. A collection of Hand's papers and addresses, published in 1952 as ''The Spirit of Liberty'', sold well and won him new admirers. Even after he criticized the civil-rights
activism Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whe ...
of the 1950s
Warren Court The Warren Court was the period in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United S ...
, Hand retained his popularity. Hand is also remembered as a pioneer of modern approaches to
statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statutory
interpretation. His decisions in specialist fields, such as
patents A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...
,
torts A tort, in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person ...
,
admiralty law Admiralty law or maritime law is a body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influen ...
, and
antitrust law Competition law is a that promotes or seeks to maintain by regulating conduct by companies. Competition law is implemented through public and private enforcement. It is also known as ''anti- law'' in China and Russia. In previous years it has ...
, set lasting standards for craftsmanship and clarity. On constitutional matters, he was both a political
progressive Progressive may refer to: Politics * Progressivism is a political philosophy in support of social reform Political organizations * Congressional Progressive Caucus, members within the Democratic Party in the United States Congress dedicated to th ...
and an advocate of
judicial restraint Judicial restraint is a judicial interpretation Judicial interpretation refers to different ways that the judiciary uses to interpret the law, particularly constitutional documents, legislation and frequently used vocabulary A vocabulary, ...
. He believed in the protection of
free speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

free speech
and in bold legislation to address social and economic problems. He argued that the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...

United States Constitution
does not empower courts to overrule the legislation of elected bodies, except in extreme circumstances. Instead, he advocated the "combination of toleration and imagination that to me is the epitome of all good government". Hand had been quoted more often by legal scholars and by the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
than any other lower-court judge.;


Early life

Billings Learned Hand was born on January 27, 1872, in
Albany Albany, derived from the Gaelic name for Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the C ...
,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
, the second and last child of
Samuel Hand
Samuel Hand
(1833–1886) and Lydia Hand (née Learned). His mother's family traditionally used surnames as given names; and Hand was named for a maternal uncle and a grandfather, both named Billings Peck Learned. The Hands were a prominent family with a tradition of activism in the
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
. Hand grew up in comfortable circumstances. The family had an "almost hereditary" attachment to the legal profession and has been described as "the most distinguished legal family in northern New York". Samuel Hand was an
appellate In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
lawyer, who had risen rapidly through the ranks of an Albany-based law firm in the 1860s and, by age 32, was the firm's leading lawyer. In 1878, he became the leader of the appellate bar and argued cases before the New York Court of Appeals in "greater number and importance than those argued by any other lawyer in New York during the same period". Samuel Hand was a distant, intimidating figure to his son; Learned Hand later described his relations with his father as "not really intimate". Samuel Hand died from cancer when Learned was 14. Learned's mother thereafter promoted an idealized memory of her husband's professional success, intellectual abilities, and parental perfection, placing considerable pressure on her son. Lydia Hand was an involved and protective mother, who had been influenced by a
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the a ...
aunt as a child; and she passed on a strong sense of duty and guilt to her only son. Learned Hand eventually came to understand the influences of his parents as formative. After his father's death, he looked to religion to help him cope, writing to his cousin
Augustus Noble Hand Augustus Noble Hand (July 26, 1869 – October 28, 1954) was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and later was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appea ...

Augustus Noble Hand
: "If you could imagine one half the comfort my religion has given to me in this terrible loss, you would see that Christ never forsakes those who cling to him." The depth of Hand's early religious convictions was in sharp contrast to his later
agnosticism Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion Philosophy of religion is "the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religio ...

agnosticism
. Hand was beset by anxieties and self-doubt throughout his life, including
night terror Night terror, also called sleep terror, is a sleep disorder A sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is a medical disorder A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement ...
s as a child. He later admitted he was "very undecided, always have been—a very insecure person, very fearful; morbidly fearful". Especially after his father's death, he grew up surrounded by doting women—his mother, his aunt, and his sister Lydia (Lily), eight years his elder. Hand struggled with his name during his childhood and adulthood, worried that "Billings" and "Learned" were not sufficiently masculine. While working as a lawyer in 1899, he ceased using the name "Billings"—calling it "pompous"—and ultimately took on the nickname "B". Hand spent two years at a small primary school before transferring at the age of seven to
The Albany Academy The Albany Academy is an independent college preparatory A college-preparatory school (shortened to preparatory school, prep school, or college prep) is a type of secondary school. The term can refer to state school, public, Independent school ...
, which he attended for the next 10 years. He never enjoyed the Academy's uninspired teaching or its narrow curriculum, which focused on
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, with few courses in English, history, science, or modern languages. Socially, he considered himself an outsider, rarely enjoying recesses or the school's military drills. Vacations, spent in Elizabethtown,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
, were happier times. There, Hand developed a life-long friendship with his cousin and future colleague Augustus Noble Hand, two years his senior. The two were self-confessed "wild boys", camping and hiking in the woods and hills, where Hand developed a love of nature and the countryside. Many years later, when he was in his 70s, Hand recorded several songs for the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
that he had learned as a boy from
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
veterans in Elizabethtown. After his father's death, he felt more pressure from his mother to excel academically. He finished near the top of his class and was accepted into
Harvard College Harvard College is the undergraduate Undergraduate education is education conducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree A b ...
. His classmates—who opted for schools such as
Williams Williams may refer to: People * Williams (surname), a surname English in origin, but popular in Wales, 3rd most common in the United Kingdom Places Astronomy * Williams (lunar crater) * Williams (Martian crater) Australia *Williams, Western A ...
and
Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
—thought it a "stuckup, snobbish school".


Harvard

Hand started at Harvard College in 1889, initially focusing on classical studies and mathematics as advised by his late father. At the end of his sophomore year, he changed direction. He embarked on courses in
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
and
economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interact ...

economics
, studying under the eminent and inspirational philosophers
William James William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citi ...
,
Josiah Royce Josiah Royce (; November 20, 1855 – September 14, 1916) was an American objective idealist philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosoph ...
and
George Santayana Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, known in English as George Santayana (; December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952), was a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the st ...

George Santayana
. At first, Hand found Harvard a difficult social environment. He was not selected for any of the social clubs that dominated campus life, and he felt this exclusion keenly. He was equally unsuccessful with the
Glee Club A glee club in the United States is a musical group or choir group, historically of male voices but also of female or mixed voices, which traditionally specializes in the singing of short songs by trios or quartets. In the late 19th century it w ...
and the football team; for a time he rowed as a substitute for the rowing club. He later described himself as a "serious boy", a hard worker who did not smoke, drink, or consort with prostitutes. He mixed more in his
sophomore In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, sta ...
and senior years. He became a member of the
Hasty Pudding Club The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770 is a social club for Harvard College, Harvard students. History The society was founded on September 1, 1795, by Horace Binney, who was then 15, by calling together a meeting of 21 juniors in the room of Nympha ...

Hasty Pudding Club
and appeared as a blond-wigged chorus girl in the 1892 student musical. He was also elected president of ''
The Harvard Advocate ''The Harvard Advocate'', the art and literary magazine of Harvard College, is the oldest continuously published college art and literary magazine in the United States. The magazine (published then in newspaper format) was founded by Charles S. G ...
'', a student literary magazine. Hand's studious ways resulted in his election to
Phi Beta Kappa The Phi Beta Kappa Society () is the oldest academic honor society In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , ...
, an elite society of scholarly students. He graduated with highest honors, was awarded an Artium Magister degree as well as an Artium Baccalaureus degree, and was chosen by his classmates to deliver the Class Day oration at the 1893 commencement. Family tradition and expectation suggested that he would study law after graduation. For a while, he seriously considered post-graduate work in philosophy, but he received no encouragement from his family or philosophy professors. Doubting himself, he "drifted" toward law. Hand's three years at
Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (HLS) is the law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education Legal education is the education of individuals in the principles, practices, and ...
were intellectually and socially stimulating. In his second year, he moved into a boarding house with a group of fellow law students who were to become close friends. They studied hard and enjoyed discussing philosophy and literature and telling bawdy tales. Hand's learned reputation proved less of a hindrance at law school than it had as an undergraduate. He was elected to the Pow-Wow Club, in which law students practiced their skills in
moot court Moot court is a co-curricular activity at many law schools. Participants take part in simulated court or arbitration proceedings, usually involving drafting memorials or memoranda and participating in oral argument. In most countries, the phrase " ...

moot court
s. He was also chosen as an editor of the ''
Harvard Law Review The ''Harvard Law Review'' is a law review A law review (or law journal) is a scholarly journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Ac ...
'', although he resigned in 1894 because it took too much time from his studies. During the 1890s, Harvard Law School was pioneering the
casebook method The casebook method, similar to but not exactly the same as the case method The case method is a teaching approach that uses decision-forcing cases to put students in the role of people who were faced with difficult decisions at some point in the p ...
of teaching introduced by Dean
Christopher Langdell Christopher Columbus Langdell (May 22, 1826 – July 6, 1906) was an American jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessaril ...
. Apart from Langdell, Hand's professors included
Samuel Williston Samuel Williston (September 24, 1861 – February 18, 1963) was an American lawyer and law professor who authored an influential treatise on contracts. Early life, education and family Williston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a f ...

Samuel Williston
,
John Chipman Gray John Chipman Gray (July 14, 1839February 25, 1915) was an American scholar of property law and professor at Harvard Law School. He also founded the law firm Ropes & Gray, with law partner John Codman Ropes. He was half-brother to Supreme Court of t ...
, and . Hand preferred those teachers who valued common sense and fairness, and ventured beyond casebook study into the philosophy of law. His favorite professor was
James Bradley Thayer James Bradley Thayer (January 15, 1831 – February 14, 1902) was an American legal theorist and educator. Life Born at Haverhill, Massachusetts Haverhill ( ) is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, Essex County, Massachusetts, United State ...
, who taught him
evidence Evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is shared by a ...
in his second year and
constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. ...
in his third. A man of broad interests, Thayer became a major influence on Hand's jurisprudence. He emphasized the law's historical and human dimensions rather than its certainties and extremes. He stressed the need for courts to exercise
judicial restraint Judicial restraint is a judicial interpretation Judicial interpretation refers to different ways that the judiciary uses to interpret the law, particularly constitutional documents, legislation and frequently used vocabulary A vocabulary, ...
in deciding social issues.


Albany legal practice

Hand graduated from Harvard Law School with a
Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Laws ( la, Legum Baccalaureus; LL.B.) is an undergraduate law degree in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guard ...
in 1896 at the age of 24. He returned to Albany to live with his mother and aunt and started work for the
law firm A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with some ...
in which an uncle, Matthew Hale, was a partner. Hale's unexpected death a few months later obliged Hand to move to a new firm, but by 1899, he had become a partner. He had difficulty attracting his own clients and found the work trivial and dull. Much of his time was spent researching and writing briefs, with few opportunities for the appellate work he preferred. His early courtroom appearances, when they came, were frequently difficult, sapping his fragile self-confidence. He began to fear that he lacked the ability to think on his feet in court. For two years, Hand tried to succeed as a lawyer by force of will, giving all his time to the practice. By 1900, he was deeply dissatisfied with his progress. For intellectual stimulation, he increasingly looked outside his daily work. He wrote scholarly articles, taught part-time at
Albany Law School Albany Law School is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two dec ...

Albany Law School
, and joined a lawyers' discussion group in New York City. He also developed an interest in politics. Hand came from a line of loyal Democrats, but in 1898 he voted for
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
as
governor of New York The governor of the State of New York is the head of government of the U.S. state of New York (state), New York. The governor is the head of the Executive (government), executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-ch ...
. Though he deplored Roosevelt's role in the "militant imperialism" of the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, S ...
, he approved of the "amorphous mixture of socialism and laisser faire " in Roosevelt's campaign speeches. Hand caused further family controversy by registering as a Republican for the presidential election of 1900. Life and work in Albany no longer fulfilled him; he began applying for jobs in New York City, despite family pressure against moving.


Marriage and New York

After reaching the age of 30 without developing a serious interest in a woman, Hand thought he was destined for bachelorhood. But, during a 1901 summer holiday in the
Québec Quebec ( , sometimes ; french: Québec, link=no )According to the Government of Canada, Canadian government, ''Québec'' (with the acute accent) is the official name in Canadian French and ''Quebec'' (without the accent) is the province's official ...

Québec
resort of
La Malbaie La Malbaie is a municipality in the Charlevoix-Est Regional County Municipality Charlevoix-Est is a regional county municipality The term regional county municipality or RCM (''french: municipalité régionale de comté, MRC'') is used ...
, he met 25-year-old Frances Fincke, a graduate of
Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr College ( ; Welsh language, Welsh: ) is a Women's colleges in the United States, women's Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Founded as a Quaker instituti ...

Bryn Mawr College
. Though indecisive in most matters, he waited only a few weeks before proposing. The more cautious Fincke postponed her answer for almost a year, while Hand wrote to and occasionally saw her. He also began to look more seriously for work in New York City. The next summer, both Hand and Fincke returned to La Malbaie, and at the end of August 1902, they became engaged and kissed for the first time. They married on December 6, 1902, shortly after Hand had accepted a post with the
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
law firm of Zabriskie, Burrill & Murray. The couple had three daughters: Mary Deshon (born 1905), Frances (born 1907), and Constance (born 1909). Hand proved an anxious husband and father. He corresponded regularly with his doctor brother-in-law about initial difficulties in conceiving and about his children's illnesses. He survived
pneumonia Pneumonia is an inflammatory Inflammatory may refer to: * Inflammation, a biological response to harmful stimuli * The word ''inflammatory'' is also used to refer literally to fire and flammability, and figuratively in relation to comments t ...

pneumonia
in February 1905, taking months to recover. The family at first spent summers in
Mount Kisco Mount Kisco is a village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from ...

Mount Kisco
, with Hand
commuting Commuting is periodically recurring travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

commuting
on the weekends. After 1910, they rented summer homes in
Cornish, New Hampshire Cornish is a town A town is a human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenome ...
, a writers' and artists' colony with a stimulating social scene. The Hands bought a house there in 1919, which they called "Low Court". As Cornish was a nine-hour train journey from New York, the couple were separated for long periods. Hand could join the family only for vacations. The Hands became friends of the popular artist
Maxfield Parrish Maxfield Parrish (July 25, 1870 – March 30, 1966) was an American painter and illustration, illustrator active in the first half of the 20th century. He is known for his distinctive saturated hues and idealized neo-classical imagery. His ...
, who lived in nearby Plainfield. The Misses Hand posed for some of his paintings. The Hands also became close friends of Cornish resident Louis Dow, a
Dartmouth College Dartmouth College ( ) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...
professor. Frances Hand spent increasing amounts of time with Dow while her husband was in New York, and tension crept into the marriage. Despite speculation, there is no evidence that she and Dow were lovers. Hand regretted Frances' long absences and urged her to spend more time with him, but he maintained an enduring friendship with Dow. He blamed himself for a lack of insight into his wife's needs in the early years of the marriage, confessing his "blindness and insensibility to what you wanted and to your right to your own ways when they differed from mine". Fearing he might otherwise lose her altogether, Hand came to accept Frances' desire to spend time in the country with another man. While staying in Cornish in 1908, Hand began a close friendship with the political commentator and philosopher
Herbert Croly Herbert David Croly (January 23, 1869 – May 17, 1930) was an intellectual leader of the progressive movement Progressivism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (f ...
. At the time, Croly was writing his influential book ''
The Promise of American Life ''The Promise of American Life'' is a book published by Herbert Croly, founder of ''The New Republic'', in 1909. This book opposed aggressive unionization and supported economic planning to raise general quality of life. By Croly's death in 193 ...
'', in which he advocated a program of democratic and
egalitarian Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy Philosophy ...
reform under a national government with increased powers. When the book was published in November 1909, Hand sent copies to friends and acquaintances, including former president Theodore Roosevelt. Croly's ideas had a powerful effect on Roosevelt's politics, influencing his advocacy of New Nationalism and the development of
Progressivism Progressivism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
. Hand continued to be disappointed in his progress at work. A move to the firm of Gould & Wilkie in January 1904 brought neither the challenges nor the financial rewards for which he had hoped. "I was never any good as a lawyer," he later admitted. "I didn't have any success, any at all." In 1907, deciding that at the age of 35 success as a Wall Street lawyer was out of reach, he lobbied for a potential new federal judgeship in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in case citations, S.D.N.Y.) is a United States district court, federal trial court whose geographic jurisdiction encompasses eight counties of New York (state), New York S ...
, the federal court headquartered in Manhattan. He became involved briefly in local Republican politics to strengthen his political base. In the event, Congress did not create the new judgeship in 1907; but, when the post was finally created in 1909, Hand renewed his candidacy. With the help of the influential Charles C. Burlingham, a senior New York lawyer and close friend, he gained the backing of
Attorney General #REDIRECT Attorney general In most common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinio ...
, who urged
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a chief executive officer ...

President
William Howard Taft William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of ...

William Howard Taft
to appoint Hand. One of the youngest federal judges ever appointed, Hand took his judicial oath at age 37 in April 1909.


Federal judge

Hand served as a
United States District Judge The United States district courts are the general trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate leg ...
in the Southern District of New York from 1909 to 1924. He dealt with fields of
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
, including
tort A tort, in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dict ...

tort
s,
contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview ...

contract
s, and
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
, and
admiralty law Admiralty law or maritime law is a body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influen ...
. His unfamiliarity with some of these specialties, along with his limited courtroom experience, caused him anxiety at first. Most of Hand's early cases concerned
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditor A creditor or lender is a party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' par ...

bankruptcy
issues, which he found tiresome, and
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
law, which fascinated him. Hand made some important decisions in the area of
free speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

free speech
. A frequently cited 1913 decision is '' United States v. Kennerley'',''United States v. Kennerley'', 209 Fed. 119 (S.D.N.Y. 1913) an
obscenity An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the pl ...
case concerning
Daniel Carson Goodman Daniel Carson Goodman (August 24, 1881 – May 16, 1957) was an American screenwriter and licensed physician. Biography Goodman wrote the storyline for 28 silent films – the first of them was ''Sapho (1913 film), Sapho'' (1913). He w ...
's ''Hagar Revelly'', a social-hygiene novel about the "wiles of vice," which had caught the attention of the
New York Society for the Suppression of Vice The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (NYSSV or SSV) was an institution dedicated to supervising the public morality, morality of the public, founded in 1873. Its specific mission was to monitor compliance with state laws and work with t ...
. Hand allowed the case to go forward on the basis of the
Hicklin test The Hicklin test is a legal test for obscenity An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits ...
, which stemmed back to a seminal English decision of 1868, '' Regina v. Hicklin''. In his opinion, Hand recommended updating the law, arguing that the obscenity rule should not simply protect the most susceptible readers but should reflect
community standards As a legal term in the United States, community standards arose from a test to determine whether material is or is not obscene An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality Morality (from ) is the different ...
:
It seems hardly likely that we are even to-day so lukewarm in our interest in letters or serious discussion as to be content to reduce our treatment of sex to the standard of a child's library in the supposed interest of a salacious few, or that shame will for long prevent us from adequate portrayal of some of the most serious and beautiful sides of human nature.
Hand was politically active in the cause of New Nationalism. With reservations, in 1911 he supported Theodore Roosevelt's return to national politics. He approved of the ex-president's plans to legislate on behalf of the underprivileged and to control corporations, as well as of his campaign against the abuse of judicial power. Hand sought to influence Roosevelt's views on these subjects, both in person and in print, and wrote articles for Roosevelt's magazine, ''The Outlook''. His hopes of swaying Roosevelt were often dashed. Roosevelt's poor grasp of legal issues particularly exasperated Hand. Despite overwhelming support for Roosevelt in the
primaries Primary elections, often abbreviated to primaries, are a process by which voters can indicate their preference for their party's candidate, or a candidate in general, in an upcoming general election, local election, or by-election. Depending on ...
and polls, the Republicans renominated the incumbent President Taft. A furious Roosevelt bolted from the party to form the Progressive Party, nicknamed the "Bull Moose" movement. Most Republican progressives followed him, including Hand. The splitting of the Republican vote harmed both Roosevelt's and Taft's chances of winning the 1912 presidential election. As Hand expected, Roosevelt lost to the Democratic Party's
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Woodrow Wilson
, though he polled more votes than Taft. Hand took the defeat in his stride. He considered the election merely as a first step in a reform campaign for "real national democracy". Though he had limited his public involvement in the election campaign, he now took part in planning a party structure. He also accepted the Progressive nomination for chief judge of New York Court of Appeals, then an elective position, in September 1913. He refused to campaign, and later admitted that "the thought of harassing the electorate was more than I could bear". His vow of silence affected his showing, and he received only 13% of the votes. Hand came to regret his candidacy: "I ought to have lain off, as I now view it; I was a judge and a judge has no business to mess into such things." By 1916, Hand realized that the Progressive Party had no future, as the liberal policies of the Democratic government were making much of its program redundant. Roosevelt's decision not to stand in the 1916 presidential election dealt the party its death blow. Hand had already turned to an alternative political outlet in Herbert Croly's ''
The New Republic ''The New Republic'' is an American magazine of commentary on politics, contemporary culture, and the arts. Founded in 1914 by several leaders of the progressive movement, it attempted to find a balance between a humanitarian progressivism and ...
'', a liberal magazine which he had helped launch in 1914. Hand wrote a series of unsigned articles for the magazine on issues of social reform and judicial power; his only signed article was "The Hope of the Minimum Wage", published in November 1916, which called for laws to protect the underprivileged. Often attending staff dinners and meetings, Hand became a close friend of the gifted young editor
Walter Lippmann Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 – December 14, 1974) was an American writer, reporter and political commentator. With a career spanning 60 years he is famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War, coining the ter ...
. The outbreak of World War I in 1914 had coincided with the founding of the magazine, whose pages often debated the events in Europe. ''The New Republic'' adopted a cautiously sympathetic stance towards the
Allies An alliance is a relationship among people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying ...
, which Hand supported wholeheartedly. After the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
entered the war in 1917, Hand considered leaving the bench to assist the war effort. Several possible war-related positions were suggested to him. Nothing came of them, aside from his chairing a committee on intellectual property law that suggested treaty amendments for the Paris Peace Conference. Hand made his most memorable decision of the war in 1917 in ''
Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten ''Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten'', 244 F. 535 ( S.D.N.Y. 1917), was a decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in case citati ...
''. After the country joined the war,
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity ...

Congress
had enacted an
Espionage Act The Espionage Act of 1917 is a Law of the United States, United States federal law enacted on June 15, 1917, shortly after the U.S. entry into World War I. It has been amended numerous times over the years. It was originally found in Title 50 of ...
that made it a
federal crime In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, st ...
to hinder the war effort. The first test of the new law came two weeks later when the postmaster of New York City refused to deliver the August issue of ''
The Masses ''The Masses'' was a graphically innovative magazine of socialist politics published monthly in the United States from 1911 until 1917, when federal prosecutors brought charges against its editors for conspiring to obstruct Conscription in the Un ...
'', a self-described "revolutionary journal". The edition contained drawings, cartoons, and articles criticizing the government's decision to go to war. The publishing company sought an
injunction An injunction is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment ...
to prevent the ban, and the case came before Judge Hand. In July 1917, he ruled that the journal should not be barred from distribution through the mail. Though ''The Masses'' supported those who refused to serve in the forces, its text did not, in Hand's view, tell readers that they ''must'' violate the law. Hand argued that suspect material should be judged on what he called an "incitement test": only if its language directly urged readers to violate the law was it seditious—otherwise freedom of speech should be protected. This focus on the words themselves, rather than on their effect, was novel and daring; but Hand's decision was promptly stayed, and later overturned on appeal. He always maintained that his ruling had been correct. Between 1918 and 1919, he attempted to convince Supreme Court Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (March 8, 1841 – March 6, 1935) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932.And as Acting Chief Justice of the United States in January–Fe ...
, a man he greatly admired, of his argument. His efforts at first appeared fruitless, but Holmes' dissenting opinion in '' Abrams v. United States'' in November 1919 urged greater protection of political speech. Scholars have credited the critiques of Hand,
Ernst Freund Ernst Freund (born January 30, 1864 in New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
,
Louis Brandeis Louis Dembitz Brandeis (; November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was an American lawyer and associate justice Associate justice or associate judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the chief justice The chief jus ...
, and
Zechariah Chafee Zechariah Chafee Jr. (December 7, 1885 – February 8, 1957), was an American judicial philosopher and civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforce ...
for the change in Holmes's views. In the long-term, Hand's decision proved a landmark in the history of free speech in the country. In ''
Brandenburg v. Ohio ''Brandenburg v. Ohio'', 395 U.S. 444 (1969), was a landmark decision Landmark court decisions, in present-day common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges ...
'' (1969), the Supreme Court announced a standard for protecting free speech that in effect recognized his ''Masses'' opinion as law. Hand had known that ruling against the government might harm his prospects of promotion. By the time of the case, he was already the most senior judge of his district. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit often summoned him to sit with that court to hear appeals, a task he found stimulating. In 1917, he lobbied for promotion to the Second Circuit, but the unpopularity of his ''Masses'' decision and his reputation as a liberal stood against him. He was passed over in favor of Martin T. Manton. In the final months of the war, Hand increasingly supported President Woodrow Wilson's post-war foreign policy objectives. He believed the United States should endorse the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles, despite their flaws. This position estranged him from Croly and others at ''The New Republic'', who vehemently rejected both. Alienated from his old circle on the magazine and by the reactionary and isolationist mood of the country, Hand found himself politically homeless.


Between the wars

The next Second Circuit vacancy arose in 1921, but with the conservative Warren G. Harding administration in power, Hand did not put himself forward. Nonetheless, Hand's reputation was such that by 1923, Justice Holmes wanted him on the Supreme Court, and in 1924 Harding's successor, Calvin Coolidge, appointed Hand to the Second Circuit. It was a sign of Hand's increased stature that figures such as Coolidge and Chief Justice William Howard Taft now endorsed him. Coolidge sought to add new blood to a senior judiciary that was seen as corrupt and inefficient. In 1926 and 1927, the Second Circuit was strengthened by the appointments of Thomas Walter Swan and Hand's cousin
Augustus Noble Hand Augustus Noble Hand (July 26, 1869 – October 28, 1954) was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and later was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appea ...

Augustus Noble Hand
. After the demise of the Progressive Party, Hand had withdrawn from party politics. He committed himself to public impartiality, despite his strong views on political issues. He remained, a strong supporter of freedom of speech, and any sign of the "merry sport of Red-baiting" troubled him. In 1920, for example, he wrote in support of New York Governor Al Smith's veto of the anti-sedition Lusk Committee, Lusk Bills. The New York Assembly had approved these bills in a move to bar five elected Socialist Party of America, Socialist Party legislators from taking their seats. In 1922, Hand privately objected to a proposed limit on the number of Jewish students admitted to Harvard College. "If we are to have in this country racial divisions like those in Europe," he wrote, "let us close up shop now". In public, Hand discussed issues of democracy, free speech, and toleration only in general terms. This discretion, plus a series of impressive speaking engagements, won him the respect of legal scholars and journalists, and by 1930 he was viewed as a serious candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court. His friend Felix Frankfurter, then a Harvard Law School professor, was among those lobbying hard for Hand's appointment. President Herbert Hoover chose to bypass him, possibly for political reasons, and appointed Charles Evans Hughes, who had previously served on the Court for six years before resigning to become the Republican nominee for President in 1916, as Chief Justice. With Hughes and another New Yorker, Harlan Fiske Stone, on the Court, the promotion of a third New Yorker was then seen as impossible. Hand had voted for Hoover in 1928, and he did so again in 1932; but in 1936, he voted for the Democrats and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a reaction to the economic and social turmoil that followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929. With the Great Depression setting in, Hand favored a policy of Interventionism (politics), interventionist central government. He came to accept Frankfurter's view that redistribution of wealth was essential for economic recovery. Hoover resisted this approach, favoring individualism and free enterprise. Roosevelt, on the other hand, promised the voters a New Deal. They elected him on a platform of strong executive leadership and radical economic reform. Hand voted for Roosevelt again in 1940 and 1944, but he remained vigilant on the constitutional dangers of big government. Like others, including
Walter Lippmann Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 – December 14, 1974) was an American writer, reporter and political commentator. With a career spanning 60 years he is famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War, coining the ter ...
, he sensed the dictatorial potential of New Deal policies. He had no hesitation in condemning Roosevelt's Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, 1937 bill to expand the Supreme Court and pack it with New Dealers. Hand was increasingly called upon to judge cases arising from the flood of New Deal legislation. The line between central government authority and local legislation particularly tested his powers of judgment. In 1935, the case of ''Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, United States v. Schechter'' came before the Second Circuit. Hand and his two colleagues had to judge whether a New York poultry firm had contravened New Deal legislation on unfair trade practices. They ruled that the National Industrial Recovery Act did not apply to the Schechter Poultry Corporation, which traded solely within the state. "The line is no doubt in the end arbitrary," Hand wrote in a memorandum, "but we have got to draw it, because without it Congress can take over all the government." The Supreme Court later affirmed Hand's decision. Hand became an acknowledged expert on New Deal statutes. He relished the challenge of interpreting such legislation, calling it "an act of creative imagination". In a 1933 broadcast, he explained the balancing act required of a judge in interpreting statutes:
On the one hand he must not enforce whatever he thinks best; he must leave that to the common will expressed by the government. On the other, he must try as best he can to put into concrete form what that will is, not by slavishly following the words, but by trying honestly to say what was the underlying purpose expressed.


World War II

When war broke out in Europe in 1939, Learned Hand adopted an anti-isolationist stance. He rarely spoke out publicly, not only because of his position but because he thought bellicosity unseemly in an old man. In February 1939, he became his court's senior circuit leader (in effect, chief judge, although the title was not created until 1948). In this post, Hand succeeded Martin Manton, who had resigned after corruption allegations that later led to Manton's criminal conviction for bribery. Not an admirer of Manton, Hand nonetheless testified at his trial that he had never noticed any corrupt behavior in his predecessor. Having sat in two cases in which Manton accepted bribes, Hand worried for years afterward that he should have detected his colleague's corruption. Hand still regarded his main job as judging. As circuit leader, he sought to free himself and his judges from too great an administrative burden. He concentrated on maintaining good relations with his fellow judges and on cleansing the court of patronage appointments. Despite the Manton case and constant friction between two of the court's judges, Charles Edward Clark and Jerome Frank (lawyer), Jerome Frank, the Second Circuit under Hand earned a reputation as one of the best appellate courts, appeal courts in the country's history. In 1942, Hand's friends once again lobbied for him to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, but Roosevelt did not appoint him. The president gave age as the reason, but philosophical differences with Hand may also have played a part. Another explanation lies in one of Justice William O. Douglas's autobiographies, where Douglas states that, despite Roosevelt's belief that Hand was the best person for the job, Roosevelt had been offended by the pressure Justice Felix Frankfurter placed on the president during a vigorous letter-writing campaign on Hand's behalf. D.C. Circuit Judge Wiley Blount Rutledge, whom Roosevelt appointed, died in 1949, while Hand lived until 1961. In a February 1944 correspondence with Frankfurter, Hand expressed a low opinion of Roosevelt's new appointees, referring to Justice Hugo Black, Justice Douglas, and Justice Frank Murphy as "Hillbilly Hugo, Good Old Bill, and Jesus lover of my Soul". Deeply disappointed at the time, Hand later regretted his ambition: "It was the importance, the power, the trappings of the God damn thing that really drew me on." Hand was relieved when the United States entered the war in December 1941. He felt free to participate in organizations and initiatives connected with the war effort, and was particularly committed to programs in support of Greece and Russia. He backed Roosevelt for the 1944 United States presidential election, 1944 election, partly because he feared a return to isolationism and the prolonging of the wartime erosion of civil liberties. In 1943, the House Un-American Activities Committee or "Dies Committee", for example, had aroused his fears with an investigation into "subversive activities" by government workers. Hand's contemporary at Harvard College, Robert Morss Lovett, was one of those accused, and Hand spoke out on his behalf. As the end of the war approached, there was much talk of international peace organizations and courts to prevent future conflict, but Hand was skeptical. He also condemned the Nuremberg trials, Nuremberg war-crimes trials, which he saw as motivated by vengeance; he did not believe that "aggressive war" could be construed as a crime. "The difference between vengeance and justice," he wrote later, "is that justice must apply to all." Hand had never been well known to the general public, but a short speech he made in 1944 won him fame and a national reputation for learnedness that lasted until the end of his life. On May 21, 1944, he addressed almost one and a half million people in
Central Park Central Park is an urban park in New York City located between the Upper West Side, Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan. It is the List of New York City parks, fifth-largest park in the city by area, covering . It is the most visited ...

Central Park
, New York, at the annual "I Am an American Day" event, where newly naturalized citizens swore the Pledge of Allegiance (United States), Pledge of Allegiance. He stated that all Americans were immigrants who had come to America in search of liberty. Liberty, he said, was not located in America's constitutions, laws, and courts, but in the hearts of the people. In what would become the speech's most quoted passage, Hand asked:
What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.
Extracts of the speech appeared in ''The New Yorker'' on June 10. Several weeks later, ''The New York Times'' printed the whole text. ''Life (magazine), Life'' magazine and ''Reader's Digest'' followed soon after. Hand's message that liberty is safeguarded by everyday Americans struck a popular chord, and he suddenly found himself a folk hero. Though he enjoyed the acclaim, he thought it unmerited. His biographer Gerald Gunther, noting the paradox of the agnostic Hand's use of religious overtones, suggests that the most challenging aspect of the speech was that the spirit of liberty must entertain doubt.


Postwar years

Learned Hand's 75th birthday in 1947 was much celebrated in the press and in legal circles. C. C. Burlingham, Hand's former sponsor, for example, called him "now unquestionably the first among American judges". Hand remained modest in the face of such acclaim. He continued to work as before, combining his role as presiding judge of the Second Circuit with his engagement in political issues. In 1947, he voiced his opposition to a proposed "group libel" statute that would have banned defamation of racial or minority groups. He argued that such a law would imply that intolerance could base itself upon evidence. The effect of the proposed prosecutions, he said, would be "rather to exacerbate than to assuage the feelings which lie behind the defamation of groups".


The Cold War and McCarthyism

In the postwar period, Hand shared the dismay of his compatriots about Stalinism and the onset of the Cold War. At the same time, he was sensitive to the domestic problems created by what he saw as a hysterical fear of international Communism. Already in 1947, he noted that "the frantic witch hunters are given free rein to set up a sort of Inquisition, detecting heresy wherever non-conformity appears". He was distressed by the crusade against domestic
subversion Subversion (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
that had become part of American public life after the war. Hand particularly despised the anti-Communist campaign of Senator Joseph McCarthy that began in 1950 and which became known as McCarthyism. Though Hand expressed his horror of McCarthyism privately, he hesitated to do so publicly because cases arising from it were likely to come before his court.


''Coplon'', ''Dennis'', and ''Remington'' cases

During this period, Hand took part in three cases that posed a particular challenge to his impartiality on Cold War issues: ''United States v. Coplon'', ''Dennis v. United States'', and ''United States v. Remington''. United States Department of Justice, Department of Justice worker Judith Coplon had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing and attempting to pass on Defense (military), defense information. In 1950, her appeal came before a Second Circuit panel that included Learned Hand. It rested on her claim that her rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Fourth Amendment had been infringed by a search warrant, warrantless search, and that details of illegal wiretaps had not been fully disclosed at trial. Although Hand was unambiguous in his view Coplon had been guilty of the charges against her, he nonetheless rejected the trial judge's conclusion that a warrantless arrest had been justified. He ruled therefore that papers seized during the arrest had been inadmissible as evidence. The trial judge's failure to disclose all the wiretap records, Hand concluded, necessitated a reversal of Coplon's conviction. In his Legal opinion, opinion, Hand wrote: "[F]ew weapons in the arsenal of freedom are more useful than the power to compel a government to disclose the evidence on which it seeks to forfeit the liberty of its citizens." Hand received hate mail after this decision. Hand's position in the 1950 case ''Dennis v. United States'' contrasted sharply with his ''Coplon'' opinion. In ''Dennis'', Hand affirmed the convictions under the 1940 Smith Act of eleven leaders of the Communist Party of the United States for subversion. He ruled that calls for the violent overthrow of the American government posed enough of a "probable danger" to justify the invasion of free speech. After the ruling, he was attacked from the other political direction for appearing to side with McCarthyism. In 1953, Hand wrote a scathing dissent from a Second Circuit decision affirming the perjury conviction of William Remington, a government economist accused of Communist sympathies and activities. In 1951, the same panel had originally overturned Remington's conviction for perjury. Rather than New trial, retrying Remington on their original perjury charges, the government instead brought new perjury charges based on his testimony at the first trial. He was convicted of two charges. In the latter appeal, Hand was outvoted two to one. The prosecution produced stronger evidence against Remington at the second trial, much of it obtained from his wife. Sentenced to three years' imprisonment, Remington was murdered in November 1954 by two fellow inmates, who beat him over the head with a brick wrapped in a sock. According to Hand's biographer Gunther, "The image of Remington being bludgeoned to death in prison haunted Hand for the rest of his life."


Public opposition to McCarthyism

Only after stepping down from his position as a full-time judge in 1951 did Hand join the public debate on McCarthyism. Shortly after his semi-retirement, he gave an unscripted speech that was published in ''The Washington Post'', an anti-McCarthy newspaper. Hand wrote:
[M]y friends, will you not agree that any society which begins to be doubtful of itself; in which one man looks at another and says: "He may be a traitor," in which that spirit has disappeared which says: "I will not accept that, I will not believe that—I will demand proof. I will not say of my brother that he may be a traitor," but I will say, "Produce what you have. I will judge it fairly, and if he is, he shall pay the penalties; but I will not take it on rumor. I will not take it on hearsay. I will remember that what has brought us up from savagery is a loyalty to truth, and truth cannot emerge unless it is subjected to the utmost scrutiny"—will you not agree that a society that has lost sight of that, cannot survive?
Hand followed this up with an address to the Board of Governors, Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York the next year. Once again, his attack on McCarthyism won approval from many liberals. Asked to send a copy of his views to McCarthy, Hand replied that he had Richard Nixon in mind as well. Despite his concerns about Nixon as Vice President of the United States, vice president, Hand voted for Dwight Eisenhower in the 1952 United States presidential election, 1952 election and later credited Eisenhower with bringing about McCarthy's downfall in 1954.


Semi-retirement and death

In 1951, Hand retired from "regular active service" as a federal judge. He assumed senior status, a form of semi-retirement, and continued to sit on the bench, with a considerable workload. The following year, he published ''The Spirit of Liberty'', a collection of papers and addresses that neither he nor publisher Alfred A. Knopf expected to make a profit. In fact, the book earned admiring reviews, sold well, and made Hand more widely known. A 1958 paperback edition sold even better, though Hand always refused royalties from material he never intended for publication. Louis Dow had died in 1944, with Frances Hand at his side. The Hands' marriage then entered its final, happiest phase, in which they rediscovered their first love. He was convinced that his wife had rescued him from a life as a "melancholic, a failure [because] I should have thought myself so, and probably single and hopelessly hypochondriac". Former law clerks have provided intimate details of Hand's character during the last decade of his life. Legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin recalls that Hand, scrupulous about public economy, used to turn out the lights in all the offices at the end of each day. For the same reason, he refused Dworkin the customary month's paid vacation at the end of his service. Shortly afterward, to Dworkin's surprise, Hand wrote him a personal check for an extra month's pay as a wedding present. Hand was known for his explosive temper. Gunther remembers him throwing a paperweight in his direction which narrowly missed. Hand had a habit of turning his seat 180° on lawyers whose arguments annoyed him, and he could be bitingly sarcastic. In a typical memo, he wrote, "This is the most miserable of cases, but we must dispose of it as though it had been presented by actual lawyers." Despite such outbursts, Hand was deeply insecure throughout his life, as he fully recognized. In his 80s, he still fretted about his rejection by the elite social clubs at Harvard College. Learned Hand remained in good physical and mental condition for most of the last decade of his life. In 1958, he gave the Holmes Lectures at
Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (HLS) is the law school A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education Legal education is the education of individuals in the principles, practices, and ...
. These lectures proved to be Hand's last major critique of judicial activism, a position he had first taken up in 1908 with his attack on the Lochner v. New York, ''Lochner'' ruling. They included a controversial attack on the
Warren Court The Warren Court was the period in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United S ...
's 1954 decision in ''Brown v. Board of Education'', which in Hand's opinion had exceeded its powers by overruling Jim Crow laws, Jim Crow segregation laws. His views were widely criticized as reactionary and unfortunate, with most deploring the fact that they might encourage segregationists who opposed libertarian judicial rulings. Published as ''The Bill of Rights'', the lectures nevertheless became a national bestseller. ''Catcher in the Rye'' author J. D. Salinger became a neighbor in
Cornish, New Hampshire Cornish is a town A town is a human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenome ...
in 1953, and Hand became Salinger's best and almost only friend as Salinger become more and more reclusive. By 1958, Hand was suffering from intense pain in his back and faced difficulty in walking. "I can just manage, with not infrequent pauses, to walk about a third of a mile," he wrote to Felix Frankfurter. "My feet get very numb and my back painful. The truth is that 86 is too long." Soon, he was obliged to use crutches, but he remained mentally sharp and continued to hear cases. In 1960, he worked briefly on Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Dwight Eisenhower's "Commission on National Goals", but he resigned because "it involved more work than in the present state of my health I care to add to the judicial work that I am still trying to do". By June 1961, Hand was in a wheelchair. He joked that he felt idle because he had taken part in no more than about 25 cases that year, and that he would start another job if he could find one. The following month, he suffered a heart attack at Cornish, New Hampshire, Cornish. He was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside, St Luke's Hospital in New York City, where he died peacefully on August 18, 1961. ''The New York Times'' ran a front-page obituary. ''The Times'' of London wrote: "There are many who will feel that with the death of Learned Hand the golden age of the American judiciary has come to an end." He was buried next to his wife in the family plot at Albany Rural Cemetery near Menands, New York, Menands, New York. His grandson was actor Richard Jordan.


Philosophy

Hand's study of
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
at Harvard left a lasting imprint on his thought. As a student, he lost his faith in God, and from that point on he became a skepticism, skeptic. Hand's view of the world has been identified as moral relativism, relativistic; in the words of scholar Kathryn Griffith, "[i]t was his devotion to a concept of relative values that prompted him to question opinions of the Supreme Court which appeared to place one value absolutely above the others, whether the value was that of individual freedom or equality or the protection of young people from obscene literature." Hand instead sought objective standards in constitutional law, most famously in
obscenity An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the pl ...
and
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgat ...
cases. He saw the Constitution and the law as compromises to resolve conflicting interests, possessing no moral force of their own. This denial that any divine or natural rights are embodied in the Constitution led Hand to a legal positivism, positivistic view of the United States Bill of Rights, Bill of Rights. In this approach, provisions of the Constitution, such as freedom of press, freedom of speech, and equal protection, should be interpreted through their wording and in the light of historical analysis rather than as "guides on concrete occasions". For Hand, moral values were a product of their times and a matter of taste. Hand's civil instincts were at odds with the duty of a judge to stay aloof from politics. As a judge he respected even bad laws; as a member of society he felt free to question the decisions behind legislation. In his opinion, members of a democratic society should be involved in legislative decision-making. He therefore regarded toleration as a prerequisite of civil liberty. In practice, this even meant that those who wish to promote ideas repugnant to the majority should be free to do so, within broad limits. Hand's skepticism extended to his political philosophy: he once described himself as "a conservative among liberals, and a liberal among conservatives". As early as 1898, he rejected his family's Jeffersonian Democratic tradition. His thoughts on liberty, collected in ''The Spirit of Liberty'' (1952), began by recalling the political philosophies of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson believed that each individual has a natural right to freedom, and that government, though necessary, threatens that freedom. In contrast, Hamilton argued that freedom depends on government: too much freedom leads to anarchy and the Ochlocracy, tyranny of the mob. Hand, who believed, following Thomas Hobbes, that the rule of law is the only alternative to the rule of brutality, leaned towards Hamilton. Since the freedom granted to the American pioneers was no longer feasible, he accepted that individual liberty should be moderated by society's norms. He nevertheless saw the liberty to create and to choose as vital to peoples' humanity and entitled to legal protection. He assumed the goal of human beings to be the "good life", defined as each individual chooses. Between 1910 and 1916, Hand tried to translate his political philosophy into political action. Having read Croly's ''
The Promise of American Life ''The Promise of American Life'' is a book published by Herbert Croly, founder of ''The New Republic'', in 1909. This book opposed aggressive unionization and supported economic planning to raise general quality of life. By Croly's death in 193 ...
'' and its anti-Jeffersonian plea for government economic intervention, intervention in economic and social issues, he joined the Progressive Party. He discovered that party politicking was incompatible not only with his role as a judge but with his philosophical objectivity. The pragmatism, pragmatic philosophy Hand had imbibed from
William James William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citi ...
at Harvard required each issue to be individually judged on its merits, without partiality. In contrast, political action required partisanship and a choice between values. After 1916, Hand preferred to retreat from party politics into a detached skepticism. His belief in planned economy, central planning resurfaced during the 1930s in his growing approval of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, as he once again—though this time as an observer—endorsed a program of government intervention. Hand was also an interventionism (politics), interventionist on foreign policy, supporting U.S. involvement in both world wars, and disdained non-interventionism, isolationism.


Jurisprudence

Hand has been called one of the United States' most significant judicial philosophers. A leading advocate of
judicial restraint Judicial restraint is a judicial interpretation Judicial interpretation refers to different ways that the judiciary uses to interpret the law, particularly constitutional documents, legislation and frequently used vocabulary A vocabulary, ...
, he took seriously Alexander Hamilton's formulation that "the judiciary ... may truly be said to have neither ''force'' nor ''will'', but merely judgement." Any judicial ruling that had the effect of legislating from the bench troubled Hand. In 1908, in his article "Due Process of Law and the Eight-Hour Day", he attacked the 1905 Supreme Court ruling in ''Lochner v. New York'', which had struck down a law prohibiting bakery staff from working more than ten hours a day. The Supreme Court went on to strike down a series of similar worker-protective laws on the grounds that they restricted freedom of contract. Hand regarded this principle as undemocratic. "For the state to intervene", he argued, "to make more just and equal the relative strategic advantages of the two parties to the contract, of whom one is under the pressure of absolute want, while the other is not, is as proper a legislative function as that it should neutralize the relative advantages arising from fraudulent cunning or from superior force." The issue concerned Hand again during the New Deal period, when the Supreme Court repeatedly overturned or blocked Franklin D. Roosevelt's legislation. As an instinctive democrat, Hand was appalled that an elected government should have its laws struck down in this way. He viewed it as a judicial "usurper, usurpation" for the Supreme Court to assume the role of a third chamber in these cases. As far as he was concerned, the Constitution already provided a full set of checks and balances on legislation. Nevertheless, Hand did not hesitate to condemn Roosevelt's frustrated attempt to Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, pack the Supreme Court in 1937, which led commentators to warn of totalitarianism. The answer, for Hand, lay in the separation of powers: courts should be independent and act on the legislation of elected governments. Hand's democratic respect for legislation meant that he hardly ever struck down a law. Whenever his decisions went against the government, he based them only on the boundaries of law in particular cases. He adhered to the doctrine of presumptive validity, which assumes that legislators know what they are doing when they pass a law. Even when a law was uncongenial to him, or when it seemed contradictory, Hand set himself to interpret the legislative intent. Sometimes he was obliged to draw the line between federal and state laws, as in ''United States v. Schechter Poultry''. In this important case, he ruled that a New Deal law on working conditions did not apply to a New York poultry firm that conducted its business only within the state. Hand wrote in his opinion: "It is always a serious thing to declare any act of Congress unconstitutional, and especially in a case where it is part of a comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation of the nation as a whole. With the wisdom of that plan we have nothing whatever to do ..." Hand also occasionally went against the government in the area of free speech. He believed that courts should protect the right to free speech even against the majority will. In Hand's view, judges must remain detached at times when public opinion is hostile to minorities and governments issue laws to repress those minorities. Hand was the first judge to rule on a case arising from the Espionage Act of 1917, which sought to silence opposition to the war effort. In his decision on ''
Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten ''Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten'', 244 F. 535 ( S.D.N.Y. 1917), was a decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in case citati ...
'', he defined his position on political incitement:
Detestation of existing policies is easily transformed into forcible resistance of the authority which puts them in execution, and it would be folly to disregard the causal relation between the two. Yet to assimilate agitation, legitimate as such, with direct incitement to violent resistance, is to disregard the tolerance of all methods of political agitation which in normal times is a safeguard for free government. The distinction is not scholastic subterfuge, but a hard-bought acquisition in the fight for freedom.
In the case of ''Dennis v. United States, United States v. Dennis'' in 1950, Hand made a ruling that appeared to contradict his ''Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten, Masses'' decision. By then, a series of precedents had intervened, often based on Oliver Wendell Holmes's "clear and present danger" test, leaving him less room for maneuver. Hand felt he had "no choice" but to agree that threats against the government by a group of Communists were illegal under the repressive Smith Act of 1940. In order to do so, he interpreted the "clear and present danger" in a new way. "In each case," he wrote, "[courts] must ask whether the gravity of the 'evil', discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free speech as is necessary to avoid the danger." This formula allowed more scope for curbing free speech in cases where, as the government believed with Communism, the danger was grave, whether it was immediate or not. Critics and disappointed liberals accused Hand of placing his concern for judicial restraint ahead of freedom of speech. Hand confided to a friend that, if it had been up to him, he would "never have prosecuted those birds". In the opinion of Kathryn Griffith, "The importance of Learned Hand's philosophy in terms of practical application to the courts lies generally in his view of the pragmaticism, pragmatic origin of all law, but most specifically in his unique interpretation of the Bill of Rights." Hand proposed that the United States Bill of Rights, Bill of Rights was not law at all but a set of "admonitory" principles to ensure the fair exercise of constitutional powers. He therefore opposed the use of its "due process of law" clauses as a pretext for national intervention in state legislation. He even advocated the removal of those clauses from the Constitution. In Hand's analysis, "due process" is no more than a stock phrase to cover a long tradition of
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
procedure. He contended that the term had inflated in scope beyond the meaning intended in the Bill of Rights. The result was the misuse of due process to invade rights that the Constitution was designed to protect. For Hand, a law passed by an elected body should be presumed to meet the test of due process. A court that decides otherwise and strikes down such a law is acting undemocratically. Hand maintained this stance even when the Supreme Court struck down anti-liberal laws that he detested. His reasoning has never been widely accepted. Critics of his position included his colleague on the Second Circuit, Jerome Frank (lawyer), Jerome Frank, who wrote: "[I]t seems to me that here, most uncharacteristically, Judge Hand indulges in a judgement far too sweeping, one which rests on a too-sharp either-or, all or nothing, dichotomy. ... Obviously the courts cannot do the whole job. But just as obviously, they can sometimes help to arrest evil popular trends at their inception." Richard Posner, an influential appellate judge reviewing a biography of Hand, asserts that Hand "displayed a positive antipathy toward constitutional law. To exaggerate only a little, he didn't think judges should have anything to do with it." Posner suggests that although Hand is remembered today as one of the three greatest judges in American history, his status as a truly "great judge" was not based on his "slight" contributions to First Amendment jurisprudence or other fields of constitutional law, but rather on his decisions in other areas such as antitrust, intellectual property, and tort law.


Influence

Hand authored approximately 4,000 judicial opinions during his career. Admired for their clarity and analytic precision, they have been quoted more often in Supreme Court opinions and by legal scholars than those of any other lower-court judge. Both Hand's dissent in '' United States v. Kennerley'' and his ruling in ''United States v. Levine'' have often been cited in obscenity cases. Hand's view that literary works should be judged as a whole and in relation to their intended readership is now accepted in American law. His use of historical data to gauge legislative intent has become a widespread practice. According to Archibald Cox: "The opinions of Judge Hand have had significant influence both in breaking down the restrictions imposed by the dry literalism of conservative tradition and in showing how to use with sympathetic understanding the information afforded by the legislative and administrative processes." Hand's decision in the 1917 ''Masses'' case influenced
Zechariah Chafee Zechariah Chafee Jr. (December 7, 1885 – February 8, 1957), was an American judicial philosopher and civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforce ...
's widely read book, ''Freedom of Speech'' (1920). In his dedication, Chafee wrote, "[Hand] during the turmoil of war courageously maintained the traditions of English-speaking freedom and gave it new clearness and strength for the wiser years to come." Learned Hand played a key role in the interpretation of new
federal crime In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, st ...
laws in the period following the passing of the U.S. Criminal Code in 1909. In a series of judicial opinions and speeches, he opposed excessive concern for criminal defendants, and wrote "Our dangers do not lie in too little tenderness to the accused. Our procedure has always been haunted by the ghost of the innocent man convicted. ... What we need to fear is the archaic formalism and watery sentiment that obstructs, delays and defeats the prosecution of crime." He insisted that Harmless error, harmless trial errors should not automatically lead to a reversal on appeal. Hand balanced these views with important decisions to protect a defendant's constitutional rights concerning unreasonable searches, forced confessions and cumulative sentences. His opinions have also proved lasting in fields of commercial law. Law students studying
torts A tort, in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person ...
often encounter Hand's 1947 decision for ''United States v. Carroll Towing Co.'', which gave a formula for determining liability in cases of negligence. Hand's interpretations of complex Internal Revenue Codes, which he called "a thicket of verbiage", have been used as guides in the gray area between individual and corporate taxes. In an opinion sometimes seen as condoning tax avoidance, Hand stated in 1947 that "there is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible". He was referring to reporting of individual income through corporate Tax forms in the United States, tax forms for legitimate business reasons. In tax decisions, as in all statutory cases, Hand studied the intent of the original legislation. His opinions became a valuable guide to tax administrators. Hand's landmark decision in ''United States v. Aluminum Company of America'' in 1945 influenced the development of Competition law, antitrust law. His decisions in
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
,
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
, and admiralty law, admiralty cases have contributed to the development of law in those fields. Hand was also a founding member of the American Law Institute, where he helped develop the influential Restatements of the Law serving as models for refining and improving state codes in various fields. One American Law Institute recommendation was to decriminalize sexual conduct such as adultery and homosexuality, for which reason the July–August 1955 issue of the Mattachine Society, Mattachine Society Review, the magazine of the country's first nationwide homosexual organization, published a salute to Judge Hand featuring his photograph on the cover. After Hand's lectures and publications became widely known, his influence reached courts throughout the country. On the occasion of his 75th birthday on January 27, 1947, ''The Washington Post'' reported: "He has won recognition as a judges' judge. His opinions command respect wherever our law extends, not because of his standing in the judicial hierarchy, but because of the clarity of thought and the cogency of reasoning that shape them." To the wider public, who knew little of his legal work, Hand was by then a folk hero. Social scientist Marvin Schick has pointed out that this mythic status is a paradox. Because Hand never served on the Supreme Court, the majority of his cases were routine and his judgments rooted in precedent. On Hand's retirement in 1951, Felix Frankfurter predicted that his "actual decisions will be all deader than the Dodo before long, as at least many of them are already". Working for a lower court, however, saved Hand from the taint of political influence that often hung over the Supreme Court. Hand's eloquence as a writer played a larger part in the spread of his influence than the substance of his decisions; and Schick believes that the Hand myth brushes over contradictions in his legal philosophy. Hand's reputation as a libertarian obscures the fact that he was cautious as a judge. Though a liberal, he argued for judicial restraint in interpreting the Constitution, and regarded the advancement of civil liberties as a task for the legislature, not the courts. In his 1958 Holmes Lectures, for example, he voiced doubts about the constitutionality of the
Warren Court The Warren Court was the period in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United S ...
's civil rights rulings. This philosophy of judicial restraint failed to influence the decisions of the Supreme Court during Hand's lifetime and afterwards. Finally, in an essay called ''Origin of a Hero'' discussing his novel the ''Rector of Justin'', author Louis Auchincloss says the main character was not based on a headmaster; certainly not as was often speculated Groton School, Groton's famous Endicott Peabody (educator), Endicott Peabody. "If you want to disguise a real life character," Auchincloss advised fellow novelists, "just change his profession." His actual model for the Rector of Justin was "the greatest man it has been my good luck to know" – Judge Learned Hand.''Origin of a Hero'', in


Selected works

* . * . * . * .


See also

*List of United States federal judges by longevity of service


References


Sources

* . * . (JSTOR subscription required for online access.) * * . * . (JSTOR subscription required for online access.) * . * . * . * . * . * . * . (JSTOR subscription required for online access.) * . (JSTOR subscription required for online access.) * . (JSTOR subscription required for online access.) * . (JSTOR subscription required for online access.) * . * . * . * * . * . * . * . * . * . * Wright, Charles Allan, "A Modern Hamlet in the Judicial Pantheon", 93 ''Michigan Law Review'' 1841 (1995). *


External links

* . Retrieved on July 27, 2008. Includes excerpts of Learned Hand's recordings of folksongs for the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
, part of a commercially released disc of American folksongs. *
Learned Hand Papers, 1840-1961
Harvard Law School Library, HOLLI
990006016050203941
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Hand, Learned 1872 births 1961 deaths American agnostics American legal writers Philosophers from New York (state) Harvard Law School alumni Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Law and economics New York (state) Republicans Lawyers from Albany, New York Philosophers of law Progressive Era in the United States United States court of appeals judges appointed by Calvin Coolidge 20th-century American judges United States district court judges appointed by William Howard Taft Members of the American Law Institute Harvard College alumni