John Marshall Harlan: Dissent in Hurtado v. California

(1884)

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John Marshall Harlan served thirty-three years, ten months, and four days on the U.S. Supreme Court, one of the longest tenures of all who have sat on the high bench. During that period, he wrote his share of opinions for the Court majority. Yet he is best remembered for his dissents—for their passion, for their prescience, and for the sheer fact that the most significant among them, those concerning civil rights, were written by a southerner and former slaveholder. Harlan’s passion...