Lot 61: Typed Letter Signed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice, John Marshall Harlan
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: HARLAN, JOHN MARSHALL, II. (1899-1971). Influential American Supreme Court justice. TLS. (“John M. Harlan”). 1p. 4to. Washington, March 27, 1961. On his Supreme Court letterhead to Stephen Robertson, features editor of the Harvard Law Record. ********** “Forgive my delay in replying to your letter of March 20. Because of the pressures of Court work at this time of the year, I shall have to ask you to excuse me from contributing the article you suggested. As a substitute, and for whatever use it may be to you, I am enclosing a copy of some remarks that I made at last year’s Law Day ceremonies here in the District. If you should find that any of this is worth reprinting, I may say so far as I know my remarks were not extensively publicized at the time.” ********** Harlan was the son of an attorney and grandson of American Supreme Court justice John Marshal Harlan, his namesake, who served on the court from 1877-1911. During Prohibition, as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Harlan prosecuted former United States Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty for corruption. In 1955, President Eisenhower appointed Harlan to fill the seat of Robert H. Jackson upon the latter’s death. During his 16-year tenure on the Warren Court, Harlan maintained a conservative stance and remains one of the most influential jurists of the 20th century. He voted in favor of civil rights, issuing the only dissenting opinion in the landmark segregation case Plessy v. Ferguson, and took a broad view of the First Amendment, favoring an interpretation of separation of church and state and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause. Harlan also forcefully dissented in several prominent cases that upheld the reapportionment of electoral districts, or gerrymandering. ********** Folded into thirds with normal wear and in very good condition.