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Supreme Court Justice - Essay Example

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Supreme Court Justice

He joined his father's law practice before entering politics. John Marshall Harlan vigorously defended slavery and thought the government should not interfere, but at the same time, he believed that the Union must be preserved and even enlisted in the Union Army in 1861. His family background played a part in his racial attitudes. John Marshall Harlan was confirmed by the Senate in December, 1877, and was the 45th justice of the Supreme Court.
'John Marshall Harlan II' (May 20, 1899 - December 29, 1971) was an American jurist. He served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1955 to 1971. He was the grandson of another Associate Justice, John Marshall Harlan, who served from 1877 to 1911. Harlan is often characterized as a member of the conservative wing of the Warren Court. He advocated a limited role for the judiciary, remarking that the Supreme Court should not be considered "a general haven for reform movements." In general, Harlan adhered more closely to precedent, and was more reluctant to overturn legislation, than many of his colleagues on the Court. He strongly disagreed with the doctrine of incorporation, which held that the guarantees of the federal Bill of Rights were applicable at the state level. At the same time, he advocated a broad interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, arguing that it protected a wide range of rights not expressly mentioned in the Constitution. Harlan is sometimes called the "great dissenter" of the Warren Court, and is often regarded as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the twentieth century.( Yarborough,1992)
John Marshall Harlan II was born on May 20, 1899 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the son of John Maynard Harlan (a Chicago lawyer and politician) and Elizabeth Flagg. Harlan's family had, historically, been a politically active one. His father, George Harlan, served as Governor of Delaware during the seventeenth century; his great-grandfather, James Harlan, was a congressman during the 1830s; and his grandfather, John Marshall Harlan, was a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In his younger years, Harlan attended The Latin School of Chicago. Harlan later attended two boarding high schools in Canada, Upper Canada College in Toronto, and Appleby College also near Toronto. Upon graduation from Appleby, Harlan returned to the U.S. and enrolled at Princeton University. There, he was a member of the Ivy Club, served as an editor of "The Daily Princetonian", (Yarborough ,1992) and was class president during his junior and senior years. After graduating from the university in 1920, he received a Rhodes Scholarship, which he used to attend Balliol College, Oxford.(Leitch,1978) He studied jurisprudence at Oxford for three years, returning from England in 1923. Upon his return to the United States, he began work with the law firm of Root, Clark, Buckner & Howland (now known as Dewey Ballantine), one of the leading law firms in the country, while studying law at New York Law School. He received his law degree in 1924 and earned admission to the bar in 1925. In 1928, he married Ethel Andrews, with whom he had one daughter, Eva Dillingham.(Ariens) Between 1925 and 1927, Harlan served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of ...Show more

Summary

Harlan family legacy and unique contribution to the history of Supreme Court is extraordinary. It is remarkable account of the legacy of two justices from one family. Unique in the history of the U.S. Judiciary is the service of two Harlans as associate justices of the Supreme Court-John Marshall Harlan and his grandson, John Marshall Harlan II…
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