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Book review of The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero by Peter S. Canellos

Those that know Harlan solely due to his most well-known dissent will probably be shocked by the talk surrounding the justice’s evolving and complex legacy. Throughout his lifetime, liberals praised Harlan’s views on financial regulation, and African People revered his help of civil rights. These encomiums stood in stark distinction to Harlan’s popularity amongst a lot of his contemporaries and later generations of authorized chroniclers. Unable to understand his prophetic rulings, they dismissed him as an eccentric. His stature rose solely after Thurgood Marshall christened his dissent in Plessy because the “bible” of the NAACP’s authorized campaign combating segregation. Nonetheless predominant, this viewpoint, which Canellos additionally holds, has been clouded by an unsettling query in recent times: Did Harlan, a champion of African American equality, condone discrimination focusing on different minorities? Would he have endorsed affirmative motion, as liberals declare? Or would he have opposed such efforts as a result of they deal with racial teams otherwise, as conservatives, together with Justice Clarence Thomas, now assert?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-supreme-courts-complicated-civil-rights-hero/2021/07/14/1165a334-af7e-11eb-b476-c3b287e52a01_story.html

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