Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home


Andrew L. Kaufman

ISBN 9780674001923

Publication date: 04/14/2000

Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, unarguably one of the most outstanding judges of the twentieth century, is a man whose name remains prominent and whose contributions to the law remain relevant. This first complete biography of the longtime member and chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals and Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States during the turbulent years of the New Deal is a monumental achievement by a distinguished interpreter of constitutional law.

Cardozo was a progressive judge who understood and defended the proposition that judge-made law must be adapted to modern conditions. He also preached and practiced the doctrine that respect for precedent, history, and all branches of government limited what a judge could and should do. Thus, he did not modernize law at every opportunity.

In this book, Andrew Kaufman interweaves the personal and professional lives of this remarkable man to yield a multidimensional whole. Cardozo’s family ties to the Jewish community were a particularly significant factor in shaping his life, as was his father’s scandalous career—and ultimate disgrace—as a lawyer and judge. Kaufman concentrates, however, on Cardozo’s own distinguished career, including twenty-three years in private practice as a tough-minded and skillful lawyer and his classic lectures and writings on the judicial process. From this biography emerges an estimable figure holding to concepts of duty and responsibility, but a person not without frailties and prejudice.


  • The much-awaited publication of Andrew L. Kaufman's Cardozo is a major event in the world of law, judicial biography and legal literature. The work has been worth the wait...The biography...puts up front the special environment that shaped Cardozo--the Sephardic heritage that set him apart although he ceased religious practice after his bar mitzvah; his father's fall, which he wiped out by his shining integrity; the fact that all his experience was rooted in New York City and that his life was centered in his home in mid-Manhattan with [his sister] Nellie...[Kaufman] has been indefatigable in discovering the details of Cardozo's life. He is resolute in his respect for the evidence. As to Cardozo himself, he is fair, firm, admiring but not adoring, determined to set down the foibles, to note the occasional misjudgments and to reveal the virtues and the accomplishments of the man...Kaufman's Cardozo is a labor of love worthy of its subject.

    —John T. Noonan, Jr., New York Times Book Review


  • 1999, Winner of the Scribes Book Award


  • Andrew L. Kaufman is Charles Stebbins Fairchild Professor of Law, Harvard Law School.

Book Details

  • 744 pages
  • 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press