Justice John Marshall Harlan: Lectures on Constitutional Law, 1897-98

Brian L. Frye, Josh Blackman, Michael McCloskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


From 1889 to 1910, while serving on the United States Supreme Court, the first Justice John Marshall Harlan taught at the Columbian College of Law, which later became The George Washington School of Law. During the 1897–1898 academic year, one of Harlan’s students, George Johannes, along with a classmate, transcribed verbatim the twenty-seven lectures Justice Harlan delivered on constitutional law. In 1955, Johannes sent his copy of the transcripts to the second Justice Harlan, who eventually deposited them in the Library of Congress.

To create this annotated transcript of Justice Harlan’s lectures, Professor Frye purchased a microfilm copy of Johannes’s transcription, made a PDF copy, and transcribed it verbatim by hand. The lectures were edited to preserve all of Harlan’s words as transcribed, except in cases of clear transcription error. Paragraph breaks and punctuation were added as necessary, in order to reflect the cadence of Harlan’s speech. References are provided for all quotations, and citations are provided for all cases and publications discussed by Harlan. Additional annotations are provided when supplemental information will help the reader better understand Harlan’s commentary.

The editors of Arguendo at the George Washington Law Review dedicated the transcript to George Johannes, whose diligent note taking in Justice Harlan’s class secured these lectures to “ourselves and our Posterity.”

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12-349
JournalGeorge Washington Law Review
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013


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