Columbians Ahead of Their Time
Benjamin Cardozo
Benjamin Cardozo "The judicial process is one of compromise between paradoxes, between certainty and uncertainty, between the literalism that is exaltation of the written word and the nihilism that is destructive of regularity and order."

Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870–1938)
Columbia College 1889; MA 1890; Law 1889-91; LLD 1915 (hon.)
Trustee 1928–32

Considered one of the great legal thinkers in American history, Cardozo was especially known as a spokesman on sociological jurisprudence and the relationship between law and social change. He exerted his wide influence from two prominent positions: first as a judge, and later chief judge, of the New York State Court of Appeals; then, from 1932 until his death, as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. There he joined with Louis D. Brandeis and Harlan Fiske Stone (1898 Law) to uphold early New Deal legislation. Cardozo expounded his philosophy of law and the judicial process in three classics of jurisprudence: The Nature of the Judicial Process (1921), The Growth of the Law (1924), and The Paradoxes of Legal Science (1928). The law school of Yeshiva University is named in his honor.

Cardozo entered Columbia College in 1885 at age 15 after studying with private tutors, including Horatio Alger. After graduating in 1889, he attended the Law School, completing two years of study (the requirement of a third year had just been introduced), and entered private legal practice in 1891.  In 1915 he accepted an honorary degree from Columbia, and in 1928 joined the trustees, becoming the first Jewish member of that body since 1814.

Read more about Cardozo in the Columbia Encyclopedia.

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butler era
During a four-decade tenure, Nicholas Murray Butler transformed Columbia into a national and international institution.

John Jay
An architect of the U.S. Constitution and the first chief justice.

Write Columbia's History
Columbia's history, as seen by those who have studied, taught, and worked here.
Columbians Ahead of Their Time

Columbians have changed the world and how we see it.

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