John M. Harlan

Media Items
Personal Information
Saturday, May 20, 1899
Wednesday, December 29, 1971
Childhood Location 
Childhood Surroundings 
John M. Harlan
Father's Occupation 
Elizabeth Flagg
Family Status 
Associate Justice
Nominated By 
Commissioned on 
Thursday, March 17, 1955
Sworn In 
Monday, March 28, 1955
Left Office 
Thursday, September 23, 1971
Reason For Leaving 
Length of Service 
16 years, 5 months, 26 days
New York
John M. Harlan
The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Artist: Gardener Cox)

John Marshall Harlan is the namesake and grandson of the first Justice John Marshall Harlan. He was born in Chicago, the son of a prominent attorney who twice ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Harlan was educated at Princeton and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford where he read law. He took an American law degree at New York Law School in 1925.

Harlan spent most of his early professional life in private practice with a distinguished Wall Street firm. There were occasional stints in government service, most notably as chief counsel for the New York State Crime Commission during the administration of Governor Thomas Dewey.

President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Harlan to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, but he served there only ten months. Eisenhower promoted him to the High Court.

Harlan was the intellectual leader of the conservatives on the Court, frequently dissenting from the liberal activist decisions of the Warren Court. He defended federalism against centralization of power and he never accepted the idea that the Fourteenth Amendment somehow incorporated or embraced the Bill of Rights.

Harlan was widely respected, even by his opponents, for his thoroughness, candor, and civility. Though he frequently disagreed publicly with Justice Hugo Black, they were close friends off the bench.

Clerk Law Schoolsort icon Terms Clerked
William T. Lifland
Wayne G. Barnett 1955
Leonard M. Leiman 1955
Norbert A. Schlei 1956
Henry P. Sailer 1958
Stephen Shulman 1958
Jay A. Erens 1959
Richard J. Hiegel 1962
Michael M. Maney 1964
Matthew Nimetz 1965, 1966
Charles Lister 1966, 1967
Thomas B. Stoel, Jr. 1967, 1968
Marvin L. Gray, Jr. 1970
Thomas G. Krattenmaker 1970
Howard Lesnick Columbia (1958) 1959

Which player's contribution to baseball best matches John M. Harlan's contribution to law?

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John M. Harlan. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 31 August 2015. <>.
John M. Harlan, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 31, 2015).
"John M. Harlan," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 31, 2015,