Talk:Benjamin N. Cardozo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
High traffic

On 5/26/09, Benjamin N. Cardozo was linked from FARK, a high-traffic website. (See visitor traffic)

          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject United States courts and judges (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States courts and judges, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the United States federal courts, courthouses, and United States federal judges on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Biography / Politics and Government (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the politics and government work group.
WikiProject Judaism (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Judaism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Judaism-related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject New York / Columbia University  (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject New York, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the U.S. state of New York on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Columbia University (marked as Low-importance).

Cardozo's ancestors[edit]

Here's the link to an article discussing Cardozo's Portuguese heritage: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:22, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

The article reads: «Cardozo's ancestors were Sephardic Jews who immigrated to the United States in the 1740s and 1750s from Portugal via the Netherlands and England.» Well, we're talking about ancestors 6 generations before Cardozo. That is, 64 people. Were they all Jews coming from Portugal via something?! «Cardoso» is a Portuguese name, but «Nathan» is not. And many names were forgotten behind. Don't women count?... Velho 14:41, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Of course Nathan is a Portugese name, or was before the Jews were forced to hide their names, and finally massacred, expelled, converted by force, etc. All Jewish names existed in Portugal once upon a time, but since those people didn't belong to good Portuguese society (or had to hide their identities if they did) nobody seems to know this simple fact.. Do you think Levi and Cohen are Portuguese names? They most certainly were (and still are, though more than decimated by good Portuguese society). Look at the Portuguese names of members of the Portuguese synagogue in Amersterdam. In your opinion, apparently, Jewish names cannot ipso facto be Portuguese. Hmm. —Preceding --Log37 (talk) 13:23, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

It's a bit awkward, but I added a few words about his prowress as a writer--I don't think Cardozo can be fairly characterized without mentioning his writing style.Saltyseaweed 03:12, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Should we fix the section on Palsgraff? I think Cardozo framed the issue in terms of duty, not proximate cause. That was Andrew's dissent. Anybody concur? Saltyseaweed 20:56, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Re: ancestors If I am not mistaken, his ancestors were all IBERIAN Jews at least, if not only Protugues. Women certainly counted back then, as you will notice by the fact that his mother's name (Nathan) was his middle name. In addition, the name Nathan may have been anglized in America. For example, the Henriques, a sephardic family from Spain, became the Hendricks family in America.

Cardozo was not Hispanic. He was of Portuguese descent, as is mentioned clearly in the article, and the Portuguese are a people distinct from the Spanish with their own language and ancestry. The page defining the term Hispanic explains this more fully. (talk) 14:38, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

You mean Cardozo was Hispanic —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jetinhouston (talkcontribs) 19:07, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Or was he? The article is far from clear- the only thing that is certain is that there is no universally accepted definition within the federal government. While the Census Bureau and OMB exclude those of Portugese descent, the DOT and SBA include them. The article mentions that other federal and state agencies differ as well and, to add to the confusion, some exclude Portugese while including Brazilian! Congress has no official definition, but both the Democratic and Republican Hispanic caucuses have members of Portugese (specifically Azorean) descent who likewise self-identify as Hispanic. Several Latino magazines do not consider Cardozo Hispanic, while others, such as Hispanic do.The Original Historygeek (talk) 20:11, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
This logic implies that people from Brazil are not Hispanic, as they are from Portuguese controlled territory rather than Spanish. My understanding (as a native English speaker) is that hispanic refers to anyone from the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) or territory that has been controlled by people from the Iberian peninsula. Please see the page hispanic to see how this word has multiple meanings in modern American usage even among US Federal Government agencies. Contrast this against the word latino which implies someone from the Spanish-speaking world. (talk) 23:12, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Specifically, a quote from the article on Hispanic: "the U.S. Department of Transportation defines Hispanic to include, "persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or others Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race."[15] This definition has been adopted by the Small Business Administration as well as many federal, state, and municipal agencies for the purposes of awarding government contracts to minority owned businesses." (talk) 12:31, 27 May 2009 (UTC) has a "One World Tree" (subscription) pedigree for Cardozo that says his Great-great-great-great-great grandfather David Nunez Cardozo was born in Portugal in 1640 and died in London 1724. David's grandson Jacob was born in London and emigrated to New York circa 1718. His other recorded Great grandparents had the surnames Hart, Nathan, Seixas, and Levy. Hart (ancestor of writer Bret Harte was Jewish per [1]. When he joined the Supreme Court, Cardozo was thought of as a Jew,or a Sephardic Jew, but no one has furnished any reliable source from his lifetime which called him Hispanic, and it does not seem to be a mainstream view of him. In no way did he come from what we would think of as "Hispanic culture." The book "Latinos and American Law" (2006)[2] says (p197) that Portuguese are not generally considered Hispanic. He puts claims by "some" that Cardozo was Hispanic in the same dubious consideration as claims that Scalia is Hispanic because he is of Italian descent. A 2005 book "Advice and consent" by Lee Epstein and Jeffrey Allan Segal says (p 59) "some" claim Cardozo, (incorrectly said to be "of Spanish descent") was Hispanic . Another 2005 book "The Supreme Court in the American legal system," by Jeffrey Allan Segal et al, also says (p251) that Cardozo was "a Sephardic Jew of Spanish heritage" and wonders why he is not counted as an Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. A very short sentence or two treating on the question of his being the 1st Hispanic justice might be appropriate and proportionate. I would come down on the "no" side. Edison (talk) 23:20, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I removed "possibly the first Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic descent" from the header. This possible claim is not notable enough for the opening - it's a debatable post-script of his life that was never mentioned when he was alive and belongs elsewhere in the article. The big deal during his lifetime was that he was the second Jew on the Court, and was confirmed while another Jewish Justice was already on there - and even all that's not in the opening. All Hallow's Wraith (talk) 01:50, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Just looking at the history of this page...the Hispanic claim has been in his bio for over four years, with no one contesting it. But suddenly, the very day President Obama announces a Hispanic Supreme Court pick, Cardozo is no longer Hispanic. How fortunate for Obama's "I just nominated the first Hispanic SC Justice" claim that Wikipedia fixed this "error".
My point being...the potential political motivations for such edits are pretty easy to see, and the timing is just a bit too precise to be coincidental. Ynot4tony2 (talk) 11:52, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
  • As being someone of similar ancestry as Cardozo, I find it interesting that people are now saying that Jewish people from Spain and Portugal are not Hispanic, when the US government insists that I list myself as Hispanic because of my mother's family also came to the USA before the American Revolution from Portugal. Jetinhouston (talk 19:03, 27 May 2009

  • This article says that he was the first Hispanic, but according to Cardozo biographer and Harvard Law professor Andrew Kaufman, "so far as I know whether one was 'Hispanic' was not an issue for Cardozo in his day. I don't remember ever having run across the term in contemporary relevant writing," 1. I remind everyone in this discussion that Wikipedia requires reliable sources and does not publish original research or gives undue weight to minority views. --Jmundo 15:43, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
This article: [3], implies Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic Justice as she is the first to be recognized by the modern Hispanic community: "Hispanic groups say Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee. 'She is recognized by the community,' says Liz Lopez, of the Hispanic National Bar Association." This does not change the fact that Cardozo was: Hispanic, Latino, and Ibero-American. Of intersting note, the definitions for all three ethnicities include those from Puerto Rico. UGA2001 (talk) 16:00, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

I removed the uncited sentence " "Cardoso", "Seixas" and "Mendes" are common Portuguese surnames. With all four of his grandparents being from the Iberian Peninsula, Cardozo is the only Supreme Court justice to be of Hispanic descent. " While the part about the surnames may be true, we need a source that links it directly to Benjamin Cardozo, otherwise it is Original research. The second part isn't true - all of his grandparents were born in the U.S., according to the book bio cited, and as the article makes clear in the first paragraph, his ancestry has not actually been traced back to Portugal. As for the sentence "Cardozo is the only Supreme Court justice to be of Hispanic descent" - this is debated and likely to always be debated. While a section mentioning this new conversation ought to be somewhere in the article, it shouldn't be stated as fact. All Hallow's Wraith (talk) 18:40, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

And you did wrong. It is common knowledge in Portugal that Cardoso, Seixas and Mendes are common Portuguese names. Would you have to footnote a sentence that said that Jackson, Thompson and Jones are common English or American names? The Spanish form of Mendes is Menendez. Ribeiro (one of Cardozo's family names) is a Portuguese form; the Spanish form is Ribero. Further, Portuguese and Spanish Jews (and let's remember there was no Spain in the middle ages) crossed back and forth across borders for safety, commerce, learning, etc. throughout the medieval period, so it would be common for a Sephardic Jew to have family branches in more than one part of the Iberian Peninsula. Cardozo was certainly Sephardic on both sides, and the very structure of the names of his father, mother, wife, and her parents shows that they are Portuguese. Typically, for centuries now, a Portuguese surname has four parts, in the order: mother's mother, mother's father, father's mother, father's father -- although any given individual's name can be shorter or longer than this. If you look at the surnames of Cardoso's grandparents, they are all formulated in this way, apart from being -- most of them -- exclusively Portuguese (and not Castilian, i.e. Spanish) forms. There is no question that Justice Cardozo was descended from Jews living in the Iberian Peninsula, long known as Hispania. But I think he would gladly have conceded the honor of "first Hispanic Justice of the Supreme Court" to Judge Sotomayor, once she is confirmed.--Log37 (talk) 13:38, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Excellent- the new sentence addition is fair and open-ended, IMHO.The Original Historygeek (talk) 08:20, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

There seems to be a lot of confusion here. Hispanic has two prevalent meanings: an ancient one (meaning someone from Hispania); a modern one, meaning someone hailing in same way from a Spanish speaking country. The article Hispanic states "Hispanic (Spanish: hispano, hispánico) is a term that historically denoted a relationship to the ancient Hispania (geographically coinciding with the Iberian Peninsula). During the modern era, it took on a more limited meaning, relating to the contemporary nation of Spain. Still more recently, the term is used to describe the culture and people of countries formerly ruled by Spain, usually with a majority of the population having Spanish ancestry and speaking the Spanish language. These include Mexico, the majority of the Central and South American countries, and most of the Greater Antilles. There are also Spanish influences in the African nation of Equatorial Guinea,[1] and the cultures of the Spanish East Indies' nations and territories, the Philippines, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands." So, Hispanic does not generally aplly to Portuguese, whatever some Portuguese-American senator do, or whatever the Federal Transportation Authority decides (unless you all want to say that Cardozo was the first Hispanic judge according to the Federal Transportation Authority...!). He was and American of Sephardi Jewish origin, not an Hispanic. The Ogre (talk) 19:21, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

The Ogre makes some valid points. I tweaked his revision a bit- hope it looks fair enough.The Original Historygeek (talk) 20:03, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks The Original Historygeek, and thanks for trimming down my POV. I also added the definitions of Hispanic according to the Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget, with sources. Hope that is ok. The Ogre (talk) 12:43, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
My concern with these additions is that it shifts the POV again. That is definitely significant information, but if we are to include it here, then in the interest of balance we must also include the fact that the DOT and SBA use opposite definitions. The problem, then, is that this portion of the article becomes too large and unwieldy; more importantly, the argument changes from one of Cardozo-is-Hispanic vs Cardozo-is-not-Hispanic, which clearly belongs here, to one of Portugese-are-not-Hispanic vs Portugese-are-Hispanic, which is more suitable to the Hispanic article. I think it is sufficient for the Cardozo article to note as it does that most Hispanic organizations do not consider Portugese to be Hispanic as well as the fact that both the NALEO and HNBA- both hugely important organizations in regard to this affair- do not consider Cardozo to be Hispanic (and all of that being sourced in direct connection to Cardozo's ethnic status).The Original Historygeek (talk) 16:01, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
You're right, just removed it. Cheers! The Ogre (talk) 16:15, 29 May 2009 (UTC)


"Early Years" says that his father, Albert, died in 1885, but the next section says that "From 1891 to 1914, Benjamin ... began under his father Albert.

Criticism in first paragraph[edit]

Hey everybody. I don't feel like a criticism of a person is appropriate in their opening introduction. I would like to take that out and move it somewhere else on the page. Criticism of a person is not an introduction to who they are, but what others think of them. Opinions? --DavidShankBone 00:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

By that token, they should not be praised either... I don't find the opening paragraph troublesome myself; but if you want to cut the "Critics say..." sentence, I think you would have to rework the entire thing. Magidin 05:57, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Photo added[edit]

I added a photo. There are also a couple of other photos out there. Judge_cardozo.jpg and Cardozo2.jpg Master shepherd 06:19, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Sites and buildings named after Cardozo[edit]

I deleted the U Street/Cardozo/African-American Civil War Memorial listing here. It is named for Francis Cardozo, a prominent 19th century African-American educator, not Benjamin Cardozo. Tracymmo 11:50, 7 January 2007 (UTC)tracymmo

Thanks for that information; I was not aware of that. We don't seem to have an article on Francis Cardozo, though he is briefly discussed in Cardozo High School (Washington, D.C.), which is also named after Francis Cardozo, not Benjamin Cardozo. Newyorkbrad 01:08, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Personal life section[edit]

What rationale is there for including the assertion/suggestion that Cardozo was gay? There was never any evidence of this, and I think it is a bit unfair to start casting aspersions on the man simply because he never married. (And for those of you who are going to whine and call me "homophobic", I have nothing against gay people; I simply think it is unfair to make baseless innuendos about people who are long dead, and therefore cannot defend themselves.) --Eastlaw (talk) 10:48, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

(1) If you don't want people to point out that your remarks are homophobic, then please modify your language; specifically, avoid describing homosexuality in negative terms ("unfair", "aspersions", "baseless innuendos", "defend" themselves). I might also add that an editor who up-front describes other editors' commentary with the word "whine" does not incline one towards charity, an interesting position for one who is effectively attempting to preempt discussion with a disclaimer. (2) On to the substantive point. As with everything else in a biographical article, or any other article for that matter, Wikipedia is driven by the scholarship. As the article makes clear, some biographers have raised the issue; as the article also makes clear, he was likely celibate and there is little evidence to make assertions about his sexuality. Your opinion that this is not relevant or is somehow "unfair" is irrelevant, since Wikipedia relies on published sources, and, unsurprisingly, published biographies have considered this aspect of Cardozo's life. See WP:OR, WP:V, WP:RS, WP:BIO. --Lquilter (talk) 16:00, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I am not interested in your opinion of me, Lquilter, I am interested in the quality of this article. The reason I included such a "disclaimer" as you call it, is that I am aware of the constant use of ad hominem attacks both on Wikipedia and other internet sites in order to discredit an opponent's position. In many circles in the U.S. and elsewhere, homosexuality is still considered a form of sexual misconduct--again, not my opinion, but the opinion of a large number of people. And as a lawyer (which you claim to be), you should know that accusing someone of being a homosexual is still considered defamatory in many U.S. jurisdictions, which is why I don't feel it necessary to "modify" my language. Now of course, there is no action for defamation against a party who is dead, but making such suggestions about people who are long dead is verging on historical revisionism.
And if you are going to condescendingly quote policy at me, I will remind you that Wikipedia is not a soapbox. I recognize that you and many others think that outing people, whether living or dead, is socially or politically beneficial to the gay rights movement, but there is not reason for Wikipedia to be a vehicle for such conduct. Were this a case such as J. Edgar Hoover, where a large amount of circumstantial evidence existed, I wouldn't be having this discussion with you, but in this case there is nothing - no evidence whatsoever to endorse the position that Cardozo was gay. Again, while I have no problem with gay rights, gay marriage, or anything else, engaging in revisionist history makes you just as bad as the Christian Right and their conservative allies.--Eastlaw (talk) 21:11, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I haven't said a word about you or my opinion of you; you used a lot of language that you apparently knew was likely to sound homophobic, when you could have made this point without using any of that language. Since you brought up whether you sound homophobic or not, I responded to it. As for your opinions on gay marriage, etc., neither this article nor your language have anything to do with that topic. Nobody is accusing you of homophobia, except, perhaps, yourself in your initial comment; so please relax. ... And this has nothing to do with the politics of outing people; that's an issue to be raised with, perhaps, the original biographers. --Lquilter (talk) 21:49, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd have to agree, there really is no more evidence of Cardozo's sexuality than of Cardozo being a walnut lover. It would be irresponsible to have a section in the article examining whether he in fact loved walnuts based on his never being seen with peanuts or cashews. bd2412 T 21:39, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
But it doesn't matter what our assessment of his life is; it's what is sourced & verifiable. Biographers have been discussing it; therefore it needs to be covered in the article. I have opinions on it, too, but my opinions are no more relevant than anyone else's, unless I get them published in a reliable source. If biographers had repeatedly discussed Cardozo's strange predilection for walnuts then it should be covered whatever we think of the politics of loving walnuts. ... Frankly, it doesn't matter what any of us think about the politics of outing, whether or not calling someone gay should be defamatory, and so on. All that matters is whether information is reliable, sourced, not undue, etc. A relatively brief discussion in the article, described as his personal life, does not seem in any way undue to me; most biographical articles include some mention of the subject's romantic attachments/family life. --Lquilter (talk) 21:49, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I think the article is fine as it is (and that Eastlaw was correct to remove the "but if" speculation. That sort of language is so meaningless that it should not be in an encyclopedia article. Anyone can make the claim that biographical article subject "X" has characteristic "Y", and then dismiss the lack of evidence of "X" having characteristic "Y" in that subject by speculating as to (equally unevidenced) motive "Z". bd2412 T 22:06, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed - that was just pure wikipedia-editor speculation. --Lquilter (talk) 22:17, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Eastlaw said something on my talk page which led me to believe that he was just unhappy with the material which he then removed (diff). If so, then we all seem to be in agreement -- that was speculative musings that should not have been in the article. --Lquilter (talk) 23:52, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

More Intro Criticism[edit]

The first thing it mentions is that he was a "Well-known lawyer". The fact that he was a Supreme Court justice is probably more important than that and merits earlier mention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:14, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Cardoso and the Hispanic thing[edit]

Cardoso was not Hispanic in any sense. This is streaching the definition in an enourmous number of ways! He was of Sephardi Jewish origin, from families that went to the US prior to independence, coming from the UK and the Nederlands. They probably had Jewish Portuguese origin, but that is not proven. Anyway, that would not make him Hispanic, since Portuguese are not Hispanic! In any of the modern senses of the word Hispanic refers to someone hailing from a Spanish speaking country which is not the case of Portugal. The Ogre (talk) 19:08, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

If the term "hispanic" is used to designate an ethnic origin, then, regardless of the Portuguese issue, Cardozo cannot be considered hispanic. Sephardic Jews came to reside in the Iberian peninsula as a result of the diaspora, not as a result of conversion of the native Iberian people to Judaism. As a Sephardic Jew, then, Cardozo's ethnicity was Jewish. In light of this, I think the current last sentence of the introduction should be removed. It should not have been added in the first place.PrivacyMatters (talk) 04:34, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

How, then, about the Romans, whose presence in Spain is just a little older than that of the Jews? Or the descendants of Germanic tribes, North African Berbers, Moslem Arabs, etc.? All peoples living in the Iberian Peninsula, called Hispania throughout the middle ages, are Iberian, or Hispanic. To use the expression "hispanic" only to refer to people from Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico and most of South America, etc. is provincial and contemporary (and, dare I say it, not very educated or intelligent). It has that meaning only for Americans. And "Spanish-speaking" does not describe the people of medieval or contemporary Spain who speak other languages: Catalan, Galician, Leonese, Aragonese, Basque. When things are really better in the US nobody will notice that a senator, president, or Supreme Court Justice is black or white, Hindu or Jew, woman or man. Right now, the US seems still to be somewhat mired in its racisim and sexism.--Log37 (talk) 13:29, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Cardozo was a Sephardic Jew. The very spelling of the name, with a "z" and not an "s", suggests that it is a Portuguese and not a Spanish name. In Portuguese, an "s" between vowels became voiced, that is, became "z", whereas in Spanish, to this day, that "s" is unvoiced, that is, "silent." Almost every one of the nearly ten surnames I have seen in his family tree are exclusively Portuguese surnames. Nathan, a Hebrew name, would probably have been used originally as a patronymic, ibn Nathan or ben Nathan (son of Nathan), like many other Iberian surnames (not of Semitic origin), such as Rodrigues/Rodríguz, son of Rodrigo, etc. The argument over this issue shows that most of the debaters know nothing whatsoever about Portugal, Portuguese, Medieval Iberia, let alone the history of Sephardic Jews, many or most of whom (assuming they survived) fled to places throughout the Mediterranean world and also to North and South America. The Portugal to Holland to England route was not uncommon, and that seems to be the one taken by branches of Cardozo's family.--Log37 (talk) 13:27, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Whether his distant ancestors lived in Portugal or Spain for a few generations is really irrelevant. Lots of groups "pass through" lots of places without undergoing a change in ethnicity. The Moors conquered all of Iberia and were then driven out; does that make all of Muslim Northern Africa Hispanic? As a matter of identity, Cardozo was no more Hispanic than John McCain (who happened to be born in Panama), and no more than Obama is a Pacific Islander. bd2412 T 19:26, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

An interesting point with regards to McCain- I had never thought of that! Of course, that logic assumes that Cardozo's family never intermarried with the indigenous population. Anyway, it seems that this whole Cardozo-or-Sotomayor Hispanic affair is building up steam outside of Wikipedia, so I suggest a separate section within this article to place all of this information rather than to continue to clutter up the Supreme Court subsection.The Original Historygeek (talk) 20:49, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I suggest that most of this treatment belongs in a footnote, with a pointer to something fuller at Demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States. It's really a question of whether or not Sephardi Jews are considered Hispanic, a question which really should rather be covered at Hispanic and Latino Americans#Terminology rather than here.--Pharos (talk) 20:57, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
I disagree- this is information directly relevant to Cardozo- not from his own time, of course, but has been made relevant because of all the discussion now occurring (and I mean in major or established media outlets, not all the blogs). However, it needn't be too lengthy, but instead refer readers to a fuller treatment over at Hispanic and Latino Americans#Terminology (which also needs more work).The Original Historygeek (talk) 21:03, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
I do tend to think that we could actually write several long paragraphs about the particular question of Cardozo's "Hispanic" status, but this anachronistic question at it applies to him would I think be more in the domain of scholars of demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States and whatever that represents about the social history of the US, than of actual Cardozo biographers.--Pharos (talk) 22:53, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
The question, however, is not merely whether Sephardim in general are Hispanic (some still live in Iberia, and many migrated to Central and South America with other colonizers from the peninsula), but whether this applies to someone whose family is eight or nine generations removed from that ancestry, and which lived in other parts of Europe before coming to the U.S. bd2412 T 22:24, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
The Edict of Expulsion was quite effective; there are basically no significant Jewish communities in the Iberian peninsula or Latin America that have been there continuously since the 15th century (though there are a number of people with known Jewish ancestors). Sephardim are today divided among those whose ancestors moved to North Africa, Western Europe, and the Ottoman Empire, though many communities still maintained wide use of Judaeo-Spanish until recent times.--Pharos (talk) 22:53, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't have a position on Cardozo's ethnicity or religion. Likewise, the political questions involved in the latest nomination of Judge Santomayor to the Supreme Court are best considered in the context of the Demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States. However, I would say that even Justice Cardozo's own lectures recognized that these questions matter: who a judge is, where he/she is rooted and came from, where he/she was raised, the culture and values to which he/she was exposed, are all inextricably intertwined into the way decisions are ultimately made. They help form 'the lens' through which a judge views the world. This is not a bad thing, but it is a fact of the decisional process. See Lecture IV, Cardozo, Benjamin N., (1921) Nature of the Judicial Process, The Storrs Lectures Delivered at Yale University -- On line hyper-linked version produced and proofed by Lee Fennell. 7&6=thirteen (talk) 10:57, 2 June 2009 (UTC) Stan

Changing the text to state that it has only recently been suggested that Cardozo might be considered Hispanic is incorrect, I believe. We would need to qualify the word "recently"- how recent? At least ten years ago, Hispanic magazine listed Cardozo in their timeline of Hispanic events as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Now, I don't for one moment consider that an expertedly rendered statment, but it does indicate that there are those who considered this possibility and in the public arena. Also, changing "most experts dispute" this notion to simply "experts dipute" it is too sweeping. Again, the trouble is, just who is an expert? NALEO and HNBA both do not consider Cardozo Hispanic. Kaufman hedges his statement and does not take a definitive stand. Some prominent Portuguese-Americans consider themselves Hispanic- many others do not. Just who is an expert in this case? Better to leave it as "most experts."The Original Historygeek (talk) 19:35, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Certainly it was never raised in his lifetime - there appear to be some Google Books hits from the 1970s which mention Cardozo and Hispanic or Latino in the same sentence, but I can not view the actual text of those sources. On the other hand, John Richard Schmidhauser, Judges and justices: the Federal Appellate Judiciary (1979), p. 60, writes of the Supreme Court Justices: "Those of central, eastern, or southern European derivation comprise a tiny group of six justices, five of whom were of Germanic background, which includes Austrian, German-Bohemian, and Swiss origins (John Catron, Samuel F. Miller, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, and Warren Burger), while one justice was of Iberian descent (Benjamin N. Cardozo). Among the large ethnic groupings of European origin which have never been represented upon the Supreme Court are the Italians, Southern Slavs, and Hispanic Americans." This was, of course, before Scalia and Alito took the bench, but well after Cardozo. bd2412 T 01:59, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
That's interesting- I hadn't run across anything like that (re: the Google Books hits). I'll try to dig something up on campus next week.The Original Historygeek (talk) 15:52, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I reverted the most recent edit (which changed "Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community" to "Sephardi community") since this particular section discusses this the point of Cardozo's ethnicity (specifically Hispanic vs non-Hispanic) and it makes more sense to use the longer phrase- just in this particular case. Otherwise, the use of Sephardi- throughout the rest of the article- makes sense. I'm also changing the sentence that begins "Among them..." because that opening no longer makes grammatical sense given that the sentence before was modified to drop the reference to "experts."The Original Historygeek (talk) 06:46, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Cordozo biographer Andrew Kaufman states that Cordozo was Portuguese, coming from Portugal on the Iberian peninsula, which brings up the problem inherent in the term Hispanic. What sort of ancestry qualifies as Hispanic? According to the U.S. Census of the Office of Management and Budget, "The term 'Hispanic' refers to persons who trace their origin or descent to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America, and other Spanish cultures." But Associated Press defines Hispanic as coming from a Spanish-speaking country, and distinguishes Hispanic from those of Brazilian and Portuguese descent, and Webster's dictionary defines Hispanic "Of or relating to the language, people, or culture of Spain or Spanish-speaking Latin America." Therefore, even though Cordoza does not necessarily fit the given definition of Hispanic, he can presumably be referred to as Latin, which has a broader definition despite it's different meanings in different parts of the country. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamescooly (talkcontribs) 18:04, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Congratulations! You've been trying to put this into the article for some time now- but this is a more appropriate venue to discuss it. First, where do you find the information that Kaufman says Cordozo was Portuguese? You need a cite- find it and it can go into the article. As it is, the existing cites have Kaufman taking a specifically non-definitive stance. I strongly suggest that you re-read them. Second, a definition of the term Hispanic goes in the article about Hispanics- not the biography of Cardozo.The Original Historygeek (talk) 18:22, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

In light of recent edits to this article, I'd like to point out that the question of Cardozo's ethnicity does not hinge solely on the question of whether Portuguese people are Hispanic. Several other issues cloud the question, particularly:

  1. Cardozo himself did not know with certainty whether he had Portuguese ancestry at all (it was a "family tradition" but one which remains unconfirmed)
  2. Cardozo also admitted that his family maintained neither the language nor the culture of this ancestry
  3. It remains an open question whether Sephardic Jews who lived in Iberia were ever considered Hispanic, as they were an insular (and often outcast) group that was highly transitory
  4. Cardozo's own ancestors came to the U.S. hundreds of years ago, and came through the Netherlands and England, so it is not known what other lines of descent contributed to Cardozo's.

Cheers! bd2412 T 17:25, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Agreed! And even if we were to desconsider all of that, still, by most definitions, Portuguese are not considered Hispanic or Latino in any of the sense those categories have in the US. Cheers! The Ogre (talk) 17:34, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, should be pointed out that Cardozo belonged to the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, a group that (for historical social reasons) consciously played up its Portuguese heritage over its Spanish heritage. Though Cardozo did not speak Judeo-Spanish, he certainly was a part of the Sephardi Jewish community (involved in its community institutions), and a detailed genealogy and counting of "pure" bloodlines would be rather meaningless. Whether Sephardi Jews are considered "Hispanic" is indeed a question, but I certainly would not say that the community was "highly transitory" (Judaism certainly predates Christianity in Iberia), and the modern Spanish government has for example recognized a right of return for Sephardim, showing that they consider them at least a kind of "lost Spaniards".--Pharos (talk) 17:57, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Partially, this is all about drawing lines. This is complicated by the fact that Jews had a tough problem in the Iberian peninsula to begin with. The Spanish Inquisition created a lot of converts at the point of a sword. A lot of Christian converts had a dreidel and a Torah on the side. Much of Europe has historically treated Jews (and Gypsies) (among other groups, as someone who 'isn't from here.' This was true in Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Austria, France, Lithuania -- just to name a few. The Diaspora sent vast population groups hither and yon. Not to mention that many of the so-called 'national lines' of demarcation were incredibly fluid. One country invaded another. The Austro-Hungarian Empire grew and eventually withered. People were Ukrainians one year and Austrians the next. Poland was an empire; no Poland was divided amongst the "Great powers." There is the stereotype of ethnic groups, even as they were highly integrated into the culture (e.g., the Rothchilds in France). Not to mention the problem of 'miscegenation' across national, religious, social, racial and cultural lines. Short of National Geographic DNA tests, we don't have very good or definitive evidence -- although plainly Cardozo at least considered himself to be a not particularly observant Jew. Regretfully, that's about all we (or anyone) has got. The lines are largely man-made and artificial, although they are part of perceptions. 7&6=thirteen (talk) 20:41, 5 June 2009 (UTC) Stan


The ignorance of the history of the Iberian Peninsula and of the history of the Sephardic Jews displayed on this page is astounding. Just for the record: There are about twelve Cardozos listed in the rolls of the Portuguese synagogue of Amsterdam c. 1715. But what many if not all of you have missed is that his other family names, including from his mother's side, are Portuguese. To detect this, one has to know a bit of historical phonology.--Log37 (talk) 23:17, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree. That`s sad and even racist to ignore the Sephardic identity of Cardozo and others S&P Sephardic personalities. The Spanish and Portuguese Jews are a unique ethnic subgroup by its own right within both the Jewish nação (and even withing the Sephardic jewry) and the Iberian people. One does not need to be born in or have a recent ancestry in Spain or Portugal to be a Spanish and Portuguese Jew, as matter of fact nearly all the S&P (the most accurate ethnonomy in English is the compound Spanish and Portuguese Jew) have recent roots in Neetherlands, Britain, France, and North America, and even some were of Askhenazi or Mizrahi Jews that adopted the S&P ethos and culture.--Leonardo Alves (talk) 15:40, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

No one is ignoring his Sephardic identity, but Sephardic does not equal Hispanic. Sephardim have roots in Iberia, but also in Italy, Northern Africa, and the Middle East (and no one has sought to label Cardozo as the first Italian, African, or Middle-Eastern Justice). Cardozo himself did not know for sure where his ancestors came from (prior to England and the Netherlands, that is), and maintained no aspect of Spanish culture. bd2412 T 01:50, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

To the anonymous editor who keeps changing the text- please furnish a source before making claims that are not supported by existing citations. None of the citations currently in the article have Kaufman explicitly stating that Cordozo was Portuguese- if I am wrong, please point out where and I will be happy to leave that be. If anything, he is taking a neutral stance since, as he points out, the term Hispanic was not really used at the time as an ethnic identifier. As for what makes a Hispanic take it to the appropriate article- it is irrelevant here since this is a biography. This article is about Cardozo, not the definition of Hispanic nor is it claiming that Cardozo is Hispanic. It is simply reporting something about his life brought to the surface due to Sotomayor's nomination/confirmation.The Original Historygeek (talk) 04:16, 7 August 2009 (UTC)


The section about his ethnicity while providing a comical relief does not in any way support the statment

It has also been asserted that Cardozo himself "confessed in 1937 that his family preserved neither the Spanish language nor Iberian cultural traditions".[19] Both the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and the Hispanic National Bar Association consider Sonia Sotomayor to be the first unequivocally Hispanic justice.[15][18]

None of the refences state anything close to what the statment attributes them to as it being anywhere close to "the first unequivocally". None of the articles even state a position and neither of them even bring up the Association of Latino's or the Hispanic Bar Assoc. Due to this I have no choice but to reword and entirely remove this statment from the article as it is not supported by refrences or even stated anywhere else.--Jab843 (talk) 15:50, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Here is a link to the reference which is directly quoted as stating that Cardozo "confessed in 1937 that his family preserved neither the Spanish language nor Iberian cultural traditions". The source is directly quoted, and the quote is accurate. bd2412 T 15:59, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
yes it is accurate to the book which doesn't refrence its source, but it is published and it thus is correct for all intents and purposes for wikipedia. I am not disputing the fact that he might not have upheld any hispanic traditions.--Jab843 (talk) 16:27, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Upon review of the data I have conslusivly determined what has occured. In actuality Cardozo's family are definenlty from Safardic origin. I had an elaborate discription and argument but you edited before i posted and atm I am too fustrated to reiterate it and will in the short future. However now i will state this, there is NOTHING showing that Sotomayor's family is hispanic further that Puerto Rico, upon looking at her lineage it is indeed more probable that her family is Pacific in origin, not from the Iberian Pensula. The person on the Assoc. of Latin's is confused in the article and even states that they don't necessarily consider someone hispanic even if they are from Spain. Which is a complete contridiction of the wikipedia stance on the issue thus we cannot use that as a reliable source. I am not stating at the moment that Cardozo is a hispanic, what I am stating is that the links providing Sotomayor's legitamacy are actually inaccurate and not conssistant and the sumarized version was not present in ANY article. The discussion of whether he is hispanic will take more time and research than I have at the moment. I request that we do not get in an editing and revision war and the current revision as of when i last edited it in regards to the ethnicity stands unless a stronger source can be verified. --Jab843 (talk) 16:14, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Your above incorrect declaration about the content of the source cited demonstrates that you are not really investigating this question, but simply trying to push a personal POV without bothering to do the substantive research necessary to support it. Therefore, your edits will be reverted. bd2412 T 18:38, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
The particular edits in question only quoted sources who "claim" Sotomayor to be Hispanic. That they said it seems indisputable. Whether their claim is factually correct is irrelevant on the question of whether they made the claim. It was reliably reported that they made he claim. In Wikipedia out standard is said to be verifiability, not truth. This is verifiable, and even truthful as to the report that someone made the claim. In this particiular context, only the fact of the claim is at issue, not the more esoteric question of whether the claim is true. So why again are we disputing this? 7&6=thirteen (talk) 20:15, 11 August 2009 (UTC) Stan
Before I do anything else, I did review the sources that were provided thouroghly and they do not state what is in the wikipedia article. My POV aside I am simpily trying to enforce wikipedia policy. I did not say that the statment should not be there I am mearly pointing out that the referenced source does not support the conclusion put forth in the article attributing a source that did not infact provide what is stated. Furthermore, removing that section does not in anyway help with my POV, I am not saying that Sotomayor is not hispanic, I am not saying that Cardozo is hispanic. I am mearly pointing out that the lack of direct refrence to the point is not included. Additionaly, I have to bring in why the section is relevent under Cardozo's page and not under Sotomayor's. If I am studying Cardozo in a Law class it is not relevent whether Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. Cardozo's ethnic history is pertinent but not some random point about Sotomayor. That is the major reason why I believe the section is not only in the incorrect article, but needs to follow through with its sources, that is why I believe it should not be included. Do you believe it is relevent to a justice that practiced almost 70 years earlier? Or even relevent to the article. It is a great piece of information that should be included in Sotomayor's article not Cardozo's that is my position. --Jab843 (talk) 04:53, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I will be more than happy to work with you on included this information in Cardozo's article if you realy think it is pertinent, but in its current presentation it seems out of placed, almost like a random coment to dispute a claim not even presented in the article. Does this seem more agreeable?--Jab843 (talk) 04:56, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
The point of mentioning Sotomayor at all is that she has universally been reported upon as the first Hispanic Justice, which by process of elimination means that Cardozo was not, because there can only be one "first". The situation would be no different if a Mormon were appointed to the Court, and were reported as the first Mormon, and someone were to make the argument that the appointee was not the first Mormon because George Sutherland was a lapsed Mormon. It would then be appropriate to mention in the George Sutherland article that this issue had been raised and resolved in favor of the new appointee. bd2412 T 06:49, 12 August 2009 (UTC)


He was really the first and so far only member of the U.S. Supreme Court to have been an agnostic ? Just curious to know. If so, this fact should be mencioned. (talk) 01:28, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

The article states : "As an adult, Cardozo no longer practiced his faith (he identified himself as an "agnostic"), but remained proud of his Jewish heritage.[12]" This is enough for him to be considered the first and so far only agnostic to be a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. (talk) 23:11, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

How does that statement justify the claim that he was (or is considered) the "first" or "so far only" agnostic member of the Court? Even granting that he self-described himself that way, on what grounds are you claiming his primacy or his uniqueness? Where is the source for that claim? You do recongize the distinction between "He was x" and "He was the only x" and "He was the first x", right? Magidin (talk) 23:51, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

That´s a very good question. I´m not from the United States, but from all I´ve read I never seen any mention of any other agnostic member of the U. S. Supreme Court. That´s why I asked before that question. Of course, this needs an expert, even if I doubt we will find others agnostics ever nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court. If you or any other users have good sources about the question of he was the first or the only agnostic member, they are welcomed. (talk) 01:57, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Precisely: no info; so the claim should not be added. This is particularly important given that we are talking about Cardozo's adult beliefs and practice, as opposed to the religion he grew up with. For all we know, other members of the Court may have been agnostic in their adulthood or old age, just didn't go out of their way to say so, just like many of the "Founding Fathers" were in fact Deists rather than whatever religion they were born into. So, at best, you would be able to say that Cardozo seems to be the first member of the Supreme Court to describe himself as an agnostic; but even that assertion would constitute original research in the absence of a reliable source that makes that assertion. That's why it is mentioned that Cardozo described himself as an agnostic, but no claims about his primacy or uniqueness were in the article, and that is why I've been removing such claims in the last few days. It's not enough to not find any sources disputing the claim, in this instance you need a source to assert it, lest you run afoul the Original Research policy. Magidin (talk) 17:45, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Seems to be a contradiction of the term Hispanic. The Iberian Peninsula was referred to by the Romans as Hispania, then of course the Romans spoke Latin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:22, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

First Portuguese Descendent Judge[edit]

I think the article should state this instead of losing time with the useless question of him being hispanic or not. Clearly, hispanic only reffers to people from spanish speaking origin. (talk) 01:25, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

The issue is not given disproportionate attention. I think it's fine the way it is. bd2412 T 02:36, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that's right: The first US "Supreme" Jurist of Portugese nationality!!! -- (talk) 16:16, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Veryverser

Reverted two additions today[edit]

I reverted two additions today, by new editor Relatador. Here they are: First addition (with the following edit summary: Describe the Sephardi origein of Cardozo as Hispanic, since Sephardi, came from the Hebrew word "S'farad" meaning Spain, therefore make him "Hispanic" ):

But the issue in question is about Cardozo "ethnicity", no about Cardozo "cultural" identification. Even if Spanish language, or cultural Hispanic traditions were no hold in his family, that do not diminish the ethnic Jewish-Hispanic roots of his family or himself.Since is recognized by all parties, that his ancestry goes back to Spain and Portugal, making his ancestry a true "Sephardi Jew" is only logical to say the indeed he was Hispanic.
Despite the opinion of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, and the Hispanic National Bar Association, both groups are making a historical mistake. First, because the important role that Cardozo play as member of the American Supreme Court, he should be claimed, with pride, as part of the Hispanic community.Secondly, because is impossible to have ethnic roots to the Iberian peninsula and do not be Hispanic. Will be complete innacourate to say that somebody who ethnic ancestry is in Africa, is not African in esence, that is way we use the term "African American" as a black person born in the USA, since science show that all black people originated in Africa. Since Hispanic is not the same as Spaniard, this indeed is not based in the ethnicity of the person, but in its nationality. The issue of Cardozo ethnicity, should be not confused with his cultural, religious or national background.If he identified himself as a Sephardi Jew, then he righfully is 'Hispanic'. Probably the above mentioned organizations ignore, that the name "sephardi" is derived from the Hebrew word "S'farad" meaning "Spain".Therefore as Cardozo been born in the United States,that make him a American Sephardi Jew, or an American Hispanic Jew, despite the confusion that some have about those terms.Those who wanted to erase Cardozo's Hispanity, for whatever reason they have, must to learn, that the first Jews who ever inmigrate to the United States, were Sephardi Jews,23 persons in the historical record, from both Spain and Portugal, arriving in New York, after departing Brazil, due to the Inquisition persecution there.They founded Shearit Israel in 1654, the first Synagoge in American soil, and that Spanish was the language used by the first Jews in North America.

And edit two:

Both the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and the Hispanic National Bar Association, make a grave historical mistake. The reason of that, is that they confuse Cardozo's ethnicity, with Cardozo's cultural identity.Culture can be adopted, ethnicity remain forever. Even his biographer Kauffman make a serious mistaske. Kauffman admite that Cardozo is a "Sephardi Jew".
What all them ignore, is that the word 'sefardi', derivate from the Hebrew word 'S'farad' meaning "Spain". Therefore is impossible to be a Sephardi, and not be Hispanic. Even if Cardozo do not identify with the Hispanic culture, that do not erase his Hispanic=sefardi ethinicity. The organizations mentioned above, should be proud to claim Cardozo as part of the Hispanic community, due to his role in the Suprem Court.Probably, those that for whatever reason, wanted to erase Cardozo hispanity, ignore that facts, that the first Jewish community in North America, was formed by Spanish and Portuguese Jews, founding in 1654 the first Synagoge in the USA, and that Spanish was the first language used by Jews in this country.

I left a note in the User's talk page after the second revert, pointing out to him that these are unsourced, and appear to be original research and his personal conclusions (the second one is particularly opinionated); I pointed him to the pages on the core policies for inclusion. I also invited him to use the Talk page to discuss additions if he is unsure if they meet the policies. I believe this was pretty clear-cut, but if somebody disagrees with the reverts, we can discuss them here. Magidin (talk) 21:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Benjamin N. Cardozo. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 05:39, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 3 external links on Benjamin N. Cardozo. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 01:41, 31 October 2016 (UTC)