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John Marshall Harlan II
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice
    (May 20, 1899-December 29, 1971)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Judge on the US Appeals Court for the Second District (1954-55)
    Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court (1955-71)
    Called the ‘Great Dissenter’ of the Warren Court
    Grandson and namesake of Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan
    He was a founding member of the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund (1937).
    As an Appeals Court judge, he authored a decision upholding the conviction of Communist Party leaders for advocating the overthrow of the government; as a Supreme Court Justice, he ruled such laws to be unconstitutional.
    During his early days on the Supreme Court, he voted so often with his mentor Felix Frankfurter that he was called ‘Frankfurter without mustard.’
    He admitted to being embarrassed when, as a result of his failing eyesight, his wife had to read D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterly’s Lover’ to him for an obscenity case.
    He was class president during his junior and senior years at Princeton.
    During World War II, he was a colonel in the US Army Air Force, and won the Croix de Guerre from both France and Belgium.
    He was close to his law clerks, often hosting reunions after they left his service.
    He usually ruled in favor of civil rights.
    He was against federal obscenity laws, writing in one case, ‘One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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