Talk:William J. Brennan Jr.

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Early Life[edit]

There's no way he served as the Commissioner of Public Safety for Newark from 1917 to 1930. That would mean he became the Commissioner when he was 11 years old. I don't know what the years are myself, but someone more knowledgeable than myself may.

I think the article is saying that his father was the Commissioner of Public Safety, not Justice Brennan.-- (talk) 19:45, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Pre-Bench Political Affiliation[edit]

On the Alfred_E._Driscoll page, it says Brennan (appointed by Republican Driscoll) was a Democrat. If that can be verified, it probably belongs here, too. Dvd Avins (talk) 14:49, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

"The jurisprudence of Justice William J. Brennan, Jr" (1997) pg. 159. "William Brennan, Jr., a Catholic Democrat from New Jersey..." --Jatkins (talk - contribs) 17:45, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

My comment may be out of place but I see nowhere else to put it. Why in the world is justice Taney quoted in Brennan's page? Furthermore, it is a quote of Justice Taney that is so far out of context as to be defamatory, inflammatory, and downright infamous. What is worse, is that it is placed - without explanation - in Brennan's page in an attempt to link Brennan's Catholicism with Taney's "comments" on blacks, which are, as I've said, taken grossly out of context. It is an anti-Catholic maniacal bigot that posted this. Even if it was just posted by fool, it has no place here. I am removing this. Mattstraightandfair (talk) 20:26, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Goldberg v. Kelly[edit]

Whoever wrote the section on Brennan's Judicial Philosophy supremely mischaracterized Goldberg v. Kelly. The ruling was not that agencies couldn't terminate welfare payments without an evidentiary hearing - it was that the hearing had to occur before the termination, satisfying procedural requirements of due process. While the ruling did in fact give greater substance to the procedures necessary for termination, requiring oral presentations and giving the claimant an opportunity to present evidence and have recourse to counsel, it did not create out of whole cloth a hearing requirement. The claimant in Goldberg was given a hearing; the constitutional defect was that the hearing occurred after the agency had terminated the benefits, subjecting the claimant to a significant hardship (and in Brennan's mind depriving him of a property interest) prior to affording the claimant due process. BasilSeal (talk) 20:01, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

It is absurd that one of the lengthiest paragraphs in an article on one of the most significant justices ever, is a summation of facts from the Glass case. We all understand, as it was a death penalty case, that a murder was involved. The details are solely useful for someone looking to bash death penalty opponents. The details are wholly out of place here. Maybe if Brennan's entire opinion on the Glass case were reprinted here, then - maybe, it would be sensible for this summation of facts to appear (although it almost certainly appears in Brennan's full opinion). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mattstraightandfair (talkcontribs) 20:22, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Supreme Court confirmation[edit]

Brennan's bio under "Supreme Court confirmation" states that "...he was confirmed by a near-unanimous vote, with only Senator McCarthy voting against him." The reference is to Eisler (1993), p. 119. Eisler does state on that page that McCarthy provided the only dissenting vote against Brennan's confirmation, but other sources have Brennan being confirmed by a voice vote. See here: See also the Wikipedia page for Eisenhower's nominations (, which references a Senate file here:

The Congressional Record for 1957 indicates that McCarthy spoke at length against Brennan's nomination (pages 3937 to 3946), but there does not appear to have been a roll call vote on Brennan's nomination. Here is the text at the end of the discussion of Brennan's nomination:

"The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Mr. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of William Joseph Brennan, Jr., to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States? The nomination was confirmed."

Ljz201 (talk) 02:10, 26 March 2014 (UTC)ljz201

I do not see a problem with "he was confirmed by a near-unanimous vote". There was an actual vote and it was near unanimous. Voice votes are actual votes. Rjensen (talk) 02:41, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Keep or remove list of majority opinions between 1957 and 1961?[edit]

Right now, there is a table in this article that contains an incomplete list of majority opinions written by Justice Brennan between 1957 and 1961 (the list of opinions is not in chronological order). I think this list should be deleted from the article, for several reasons: (1) Because the list is incomplete, it misleads readers who may think this is a complete list of opinions written by Justice Brennan; (2) The incomplete list implicates WP:WEIGHT by highlighting a non-representitive selection of his work; (3) No other similar lists exist in SCOTUS Justice articles -- I surveyed every article of SCOTUS Justices from the Hughes Court onward, and only Justice Benjamin Cardozo's article contains a partial list of cases, but the list in the Cardozo article explains the significance of the cases in the list; (4) The list is simply an indiscriminate collection of information that does not help the reader; (5) According to MOS:WORKS, long lists should be split-off into separate articles if the list is "so long that its inclusion in the main article would be unsuitable", which would certainly be the case if the list included every opinion written by Justice Brennan.

I deleted the list yesterday, but then was promptly reverted by Rjensen. I would appreciate feedback from other editors in this matter. Thanks, -- Notecardforfree (talk) 16:27, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

It is pointless to have a list from 1957 to 1961. Either it should cover all (or most) of his notable opinions or be deleted. As it is, for example, it omits NY Times v Sullivan and US v Phila. Bank. I am sure it omits other notable Brennan opinions. Unless somebody want to volunteer to update and clean up the list, it should be deleted. Maybe you could get one of Judge Richard Posner's clerks to prepare a full list of notable WJB ops. (Posner was WJB's clerk in 1962-63. He might feel it's worth tasking a clerk with that.) PraeceptorIP (talk) 17:13, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

PraeceptorIP, I had forgotten than Posner was a clerk for Brennan . . . I wonder if it is public knowledge which opinions he worked on while he was at the Court? I know someone who clerked for Brennan in the 1980's, but I don't think he would be interested in creating such a list. I think that one day in the future, Wikipedia will have a complete list of opinions written by SCOTUS Justices for each term (much like 2014 term United States Supreme Court opinions of John Roberts), but we also still have much more work with other projects, which I am sure will preoccupy editors for many years. For example, there are still many important SCOTUS decisions that are still missing articles (e.g. United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648 (1984), and Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64 (1964)) . . . I think editors will likely work on cases like these before creating lists of opinions. -- Notecardforfree (talk) 21:26, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Not necessarily. I created List of United States Supreme Court cases involving Indian tribes with a bunch of redlinks and have used it as a sort of to-do list. I could see a Brennan list being used the same way. GregJackP Boomer! 22:08, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Well, looks like I was wrong about that then :-) However, I think the list you made is far more nuanced and has much more information than a blanket list of opinions by a single Justice . . . unless, perhaps, you subdivided opinions by subject, like you have done in your list. -- Notecardforfree (talk) 22:13, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

A partial list is useless and should be deleted. As this seems to be consensus, I'll do so, and if they want to add it back, they can do an RfC. GregJackP Boomer! 18:50, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a work in progress. Practically every major article can be termed "incomplete." That should be a stimulus for more work, not a signal to erase hard work that represents a good start. Rjensen (talk) 19:33, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Rjensen, if you want to create a sub-article about all of Justice Brennan's opinions, by all means go ahead, but MOS:WORKS requires those kinds of long lists to be their own articles. In fact, you can already find articles for Justice-specific lists of opinions for the October 2000 term to the present (see 2014 term United States Supreme Court opinions of John Roberts). Furthermore, as PraeceptorIP explains above, including partial lists of opinions misleads casual readers who may think that the missing opinions may unimportant (see WP:WEIGHT and WP:NLISTITEM). -- Notecardforfree (talk) 21:01, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Concur. GregJackP Boomer! 22:05, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
I concur with Notecard also....William, is the complaint department really on the roof? 13:04, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:William J. Brennan Jr./Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

With some references, could easily be B-class. Coemgenus 16:16, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 16:16, 7 March 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 10:40, 30 April 2016 (UTC)