This Just In: The Great Dissenter

With the start of the Supreme Court term this week, what better time to look into Court history? In The Great Dissenter, author Peter S. Canellos delves into the life and times of Justice John Marshall Harlan on the bench during Reconstruction and Gilded Age America.

John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in Plessy V. Ferguson helped end segregation decades after his death and as such he is a notable American figure worthy of historical biography. Thurgood Marshall called Harlan’s Plessy dissent his “Bible” and used it as his legal roadmap to overturning segregation. Harlan’s words have also been credited with laying the legal foundations for jurisprudence during the New Deal and Civil Rights eras by defending of the rights of African-Americans, immigrant laborers, and people in distant lands occupied by the U.S.