On Auction: U.S. President's Outburst at First Jewish Justice's Nomination

In 1916, William H. Taft lashed out in an anti-Semitic tirade at President Woodrow Wilson's nomination of Louis Brandeis to the U.S. Supreme Court.

William Howard Taft
Wikicommons

A century-old letter laced with anti-Semitism against the appointment of the first Jewish justice to the Supreme Court bench is going on auction in Los Angeles on April 28, the New Historian says.

In the screed to Washington-based journalist Gus J. Karger after Louis Brandeis was confirmed for the post, William H. Taft, a former president at the time, denounced Brandeis for having "adopted Zionism."

Taft also wrote of the judge named by then President Woodrow Wilson, that he "has metaphorically been re-circumcised."

“He has gone all over the country making speeches, arousing the Jewish spirit, even wearing a hat in the synagogue while making a speech in order to attract those bearded Rabbis whose invitation to the silver wedding in such numbers you promoted. If it were necessary, I am sure he would have grown a beard to convince them that he was a Jew of Jews,” Taft also wrote.

Taft went on to serve as chief justice in 1921, sitting side by side with Brandeis.

The document is being auctioned by Nate D. Sanders. Bidding will start at $15,000.