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John Marshall Harlan

Harlan, John Marshall, 1899–1971, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1955–71), b. Chicago; grandson of John Marshall Harlan. He received his law degree from New York Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1925; he practiced in New York City. He was an assistant U.S. attorney (1925–27), special assistant attorney general of New York state (1928–30), and chief counsel to the New York State Crime Commission (1951–53). Harlan was a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2d Circuit, from 1954 to 1955, when he was appointed by President Eisenhower to replace Justice Robert H. Jackson on the Supreme Court. A conservative on the court, he held a narrow view of the court's power, believing that the Union judiciary should not interfere in state and local matters, and that political and social evils should be corrected through the political process and not through court action; he nevertheless sided with the majority on many civil-rights cases. Harlan retired from the court in late 1971, shortly before his death.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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