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John Marshall Harlan, II
Birth: May 20, 1899
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Dec. 29, 1971
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA

Jurist, US Supreme Court Justice. He served in this position from 1955 until his retirement in September 1971 due to poor health. A conservative justice, he held precedent to be of great importance, adhering to the principle of "stare decisis" more closely than many of his Supreme Court colleagues. Despite his many dissents, he has been described as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices of the 20th century. Born in Chicago, Illinois, his father was a lawyer and politician. As a youth, he attended The Latin School of Chicago and then attended two boarding high schools near Toronto, Canada, the Upper Canada College and Appleby College. Upon graduation from Appleby, he returned to the US and enrolled at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey in 1916. While there, he served as an editor of "The Daily Princetonian," and was class president during his junior and senior years. After graduating from Princeton in 1920, he received a Rhodes Scholarship, which he used to attend Balliol College, Oxford, England. He studied law at Oxford for three years and returned to the US in 1923, and began working with the law firm of Root, Clark, Buckner & Howland (now known as Dewey & LeBoeuf), one of the leading law firms in the country, while studying law at New York Law School in New York City, New York. He received his law degree in 1924 and earned admission to the bar the following year. Between 1925 and 1927 he served as Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, heading the district's Prohibition unit. In 1930 he returned to his old law firm, becoming a partner one year later. At the firm, he served as chief assistant for senior partner Emory Buckner and followed him into public service when Buckner was appointed US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 1937 he was one of five founders of the controversial Pioneer Fund, a group associated with eugenics advocacy, serving on its board but never played any significant role in the fund. During World War II he volunteered for military duty, serving as a colonel in the US Army Air Force from 1943 to 1945. He was the chief of the Operational Analysis Section of the 8th Air Force in England. He received the Legion of Merit medal along with the French and Belgian Croix de guerre honors. In 1946 he returned to private law practice representing the Du Pont family members against a federal antitrust lawsuit. In 1951 he returned to public service, serving as Chief Counsel to the New York State Crime Commission, where he investigated the relationship between organized crime and the state government as well as illegal gambling activities in New York and other areas. During this time he also served as chairman of a committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and was later elected its vice president. In January 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated him to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to fill a vacancy created by the death of Judge Augustus Noble Hand. The following month he was confirmed by the US Senate and took office. His stay on the court only lasted for a year, as in January 1955, President Eisenhower nominated him to the US Supreme Court following the death of Justice Robert H. Jackson and was confirmed by the Senate in March of that year. During his early career on the US Supreme Court, he regularly voted in favor of civil rights cases, and was the only dissenting justice in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson case. He advocated a broad interpretation of the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause, subscribing to the doctrine that the clause not only provided procedural guarantees, but also protected a wide range of fundamental rights, including those that were not specifically mentioned in the text of the Constitution. He was strongly opposed to the theory that the Fourteenth Amendment "incorporated" the Bill of Rights, that is, made the provisions of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. Instead, he believed the 14th Amendment's due process clause only protected "fundamental" rights, that is, if a guarantee of the Bill of Rights was "fundamental" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty," he agreed that it applied to the states as well as the federal government. For example, he believed that the 1st Amendment's free speech clause applied to the states, but that the 5th Amendment's self incrimination clause did not. He rejected the theory that the Constitution enshrined the so-called "one man, one vote" principle, or the principle that legislative districts must be roughly equal in population. Toward the end of his career, his health began to deteriorate as well as his eyesight and he retired from the US Supreme Court on September 23, 1971. Three months later, he died from spinal cancer in Washington DC at the age of 72. In 1960 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the grandson of US Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, who served from November 1877 until his death in October 1911. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Family links: 
  Ethel Andrews Harlan (1897 - 1972)
Lyons Plain Cemetery
Fairfield County
Connecticut, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 447
John Marshall Harlan, II
Added by: William Bjornstad
John Marshall Harlan, II
Added by: Erik Lander
John Marshall Harlan, II
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Added by: Jan Franco
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