Message from the Chair
Williams & Connolly LLP
Join the Section
The Federal Bar Association - Securities Law Section is a proud sponsor of the virtual museum and archive of the history of financial regulation at www.sechistorical.org this year.
While the museum is free and accessible to everyone at all times, the Section will highlight specific material and information within the museum on securities law issues in the coming months, providing current and prospective Section members with unique content and context for use at any time.
“Ben [Cohen] spoke for 17 minutes. The room was electric. He was nervous, he was not in appearance prepossessing, but he rudely awakened the Court from its customary afternoon doldrums. The Justice [Louis Brandeis] relaxed with an almost beatific smile on his face; [Hugo] Black perched himself on the edge of his chair, cupped his face in his hands and didn’t move while Ben spoke; [Owen] Roberts simply glowered and looked away; [Harlan] Stone leaned back, put his head on his chair and stared at the ceiling; the Chief [Charles Evans Hughes]’s eyes began to sparkle and he sat rigidly erect. I know how melodramatic this must sound, but no one who was there can deny that all of this is true.”
The quote comes from the February 12, 1938 eyewitness account of David Ginsburg, then with the National Power Policy Committee in Washington, to Felix Frankfurter, then at Harvard Law School (and a year before he was appointed a U. S. Supreme Court Justice), of the oral arguments in SEC v. Electric Bond & Share in front of the Supreme Court. The case dealt with of the Public Utility Holding Company Act, drafted primarily by Benjamin Cohen, which provided the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with power to limit the size and organization of utility holding companies. The Court ultimately upheld the constitutionality of PUHCA.