James M. Landis

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During the New Deal, James M. Landis (James McCauley Landis, 1899-1964) served as a member of the Federal Trade Commission (1933-1934), as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (1935), and then as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (1935-1937). While dean of the Harvard University Law School (1937-1946), Landis also served as the regional director of the U.S. Office of Civil Defense (1941-1942) and then as the director of American Economic Operations and minister to the Middle East. Friends with the Kennedy family for years, he served as Special Counsel to President John F. Kennedy in 1961. [1]

While Eliot Ness was chairman of the Diebold Corporation in Canton, Ohio, Ness formed a venture with Dan T. Moore and Landis. The Middle East Company was an import-export firm, which leveraged Landis' capital and Moore's Mid East contacts. [2]

In December of 1960, Landis turned in a report to president-elect Kennedy titled Report on Regulatory Agencies to the President-Elect. The Landis report criticized the FPC for being inefficient and too pro-utility. [3]

In 1925, Landis was a law clerk to Justice Brandeis of the U.S. Supreme Court.



  • "A statute rarely stands alone. Back of Minerva was the brain of Jove, and behind Venus the spume of the ocean," in "A Note on 'Statutory Interpretation,' " 43 Harvard Law Review 886, 891 (1930).
  • "If anybody ever flied to the moon, the very next day Trippe will ask the Civil Aeronautics Board to authorize regular service."


  • 'The Business of the Supreme Court', by James M. Landis and Felx Frankfurter, (New York, 1928).