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
Charles Fried Columbia (1960) 1960
R. Kent Greenawalt Columbia (1963) 1963
Charles L. Fabrikant Columbia (1968) 1969
Martin D. Minsker Harvard 1970
Norman Dorsen Harvard (1953) 1957
Henry J. Steiner Harvard (1955) 1957
Paul M. Bator Harvard (1956) 1956
David L. Shapiro Harvard (1957) 1962
Philip B. Heymann Harvard (1960) 1960
Nathan Lewin Harvard (1960) 1961
Lloyd L. Weinreb Harvard (1962) 1963
Michael Boudin Harvard (1964) 1965
Bert W. Rein Harvard (1964) 1966
Charles R. Nesson Harvard (1965) 1964
Paul A. Brest Harvard (1965) 1968

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. 28 August 2015. <>.
John M. Harlan, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 28, 2015).
"John M. Harlan," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 28, 2015,