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Benjamin N. Cardozo
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice
    (May 24, 1870-July 9, 1938)
    Born in New York City, New York
    Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (1927-32)
    Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court (1932-38)
    Wrote 'The Nature of the Judicial Process' (1921)
    His father was a judge who was forced to resign in a corruption scandal.
    He left Columbia Law School without a degree.
    During the 1928 presidential election, he campaigned against Herbert Hoover, who would later appoint him to the Supreme Court.
    He was so private, he unsuccessfully tried to convince a publisher to suppress a book that discussed -- in a complementary way -- his legal opinions.
    Since he was the descendant of Shephardic Jews from Portugal, a debate arose over whether he or Sonia Sotomayor should be considered the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.
    He warned judges not to make decisions based on their own 'idiosyncrasies of conduct or belief.'
    The New York Times wrote, 'seldom, if ever, in the history of the Court has an appointment been so universally commended.'
    He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate.
    Justice Harlan Fiske Stone urged Hoover to name him to the Court, even offering to resign to create another opening if Hoover had his heart set on someone else.
    He called himself a 'plodding mediocrity,' adding 'a mere mediocrity does not go very far, but a plodding one gets quite a distance.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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