An Even Keel: The Judicial Example of John Marshall Harlan

Christopher Kemp


Norman Dorsen, who clerked for John Marshall Harlan II, did not adopt the same judicial philosophy as the Justice he worked for. He did, however, develop a strong respect for his one-time mentor. The desire of Justice Harlan to provide balance in all things, "to keep things on an even keel," as Dorsen remembers him saying, well represents the judicial philosophy of Harlan.1 Harlan came from a family of some political and legal prestige, and his upper class background, his commitment to federalism and the separation of powers, and his desire to hold to neutral principles on the Court shaped his judicial philosophy.


John Marshall Harlan; right of consul; Ernesto Miranda; Miranda Rights; judicial philosophy

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