In 1914 Brandéis became the leader of the American Zionist movement, and he would remain active in this cause for the rest of his life. Brandéis supported the idea of a Palestinian home for his people, in part as a kind of laboratory in which his views about the value of participatory democracy might be given a concrete setting. The perfect state, he believed, should be small, democratic, and agrarian; and a Palestinian Jewish state offered the possibility of realizing this ideal. In Zionism, Brandeis’s political faith in democracy found expression. Democracy, one person declared of Brandéis— who was not a practicing Jew—was for him “not a political program. It is a religion.”
Although 454 of the 528 opinions Justice Brandéis wrote were for the Court’s majority, he often found himself dissenting in important cases, and many of his dissents would later become law. For example, he soon found himself at odds with conservatives on the Court who cast a suspicious constitutional eye on a variety of federal and state laws regulating economic matters. These conservatives, who often commanded a majority' on the Court, viewed such laws as unwarranted intrusions upon sacrosanct individual contract or property' rights. Brandéis, however, thought that the federal and state governments generally had to be free to experiment with new legal solutions for the problems created by 20th-century industrialism. He preferred, in tire main, to see such experimentation come from the state level, since he distrusted the accumulation of excessive power by the federal government as much as he distrusted its accumulation by corporations. Nevertheless, he generally practiced judicial restraint in reviewing economic regulations, including those passed by the federal government.
Party affiliation: Democratic Party