The Brandeis Brief–in its entirety | The Louis D. Brandeis Collection

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on October 17, 2009

I will be updating sources relevant to Lesisg’s article – Against Transparency

C Malamud Larry Lessig and Naked Transparency:

Policy takes time. It takes focus. And it takes open eyes. I read Lessig’s argument not as an attack on the transparency movement, but an urgent plea to focus on the broader impact of their work, to redouble their efforts and dig in for the long haul. Engraved on the walls of the U.S. Capitol are these words by Louis Brandeis:

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.

Brandeis was actually writing in support of whiskey bootleggers in this famous quote from his dissent in Olmsted v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928). Brandeis was dealing with the unintended effects of policy in this opinion. He was a strong supporter of prohibition, but had grown increasingly distressed by the methods federal agents were using to enforce the ban, and it led to Brandeis increased focus on civil liberties, privacy, and free speech, an evolution that took Brandeis 23 years on the bench.

Those invoking sunlight must also look into the darkness and remember the past. A good place to start is with Brandeis himself. His Supreme Court opinions, his essays, but also his life. For his life, one can do no better than the new biography from Melvin I. Urofsky, “Louis D. Brandeis.”

Lessig’s essay is a call for us all to pay attention. Transparency cannot start and end inside the beltway, it needs us all. As Brandeis himself noted when he argued before the court in Muller v. Oregon (208 U.S. 412) in his pathbreaking Brandeis Brief, the first brief to use hard social science data to try and change the law of the land, “the most important political office is that of the private citizen.”


How Money Watered Down the Climate Bill

"On June 26, the House narrowly passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454) by a vote of 219 to 212. The final version of the bill that passed the House Floor differed substantially from the version that was originally introduced by Reps. Waxman and Markey. As the bill heads to the Senate for further markups and compromises, examined some of the House actions that illustrate the influence of special interests on the legislative process. House members’ positions on changes to the bill tended to correlate with financial support from the interest groups that would benefit from these changes.

Campaign contribution figures cited in this report and on the website are based on’s analysis of contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics."

Other People’s Money

A Fung, et al, Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency

M Stewart, The Management Myth: Why the "Experts" Keep Getting it Wrong


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