SCHS: Programs & Events — Rosette Detail

The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero

A Discussion with Peter S. Canellos and the Society’s Executive Director Jim Duff

Society Event: The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan — Peter S. Canellos

The Great Dissenter captures a huge swath of history, from aristocratic pre-Civil War Kentucky, to Cincinnati at the height of the Underground Railroad, to the famed horse-racing grounds of Europe, to the velvet chambers of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. It gives readers a front-row seat for some of the greatest legal battles of all time – as Americans fight for civil rights and economic justice in the Gilded Age. And it shows how one man’s willingness to stand up to his colleagues reverberated for a century until his dissenting views – not those of the court’s majority – became the law of the land.

Peter S. Canellos is the author of The Great Dissenter: The story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero, the profound tale of how a former slave owner – with the help of a once-enslaved man who grew up alongside him and was believed to be his half-brother – changed American law. A current editor at POLITICO, former editorial page editor of The Boston Globe, and editor of the New York Times bestseller Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy, Peter has harbored an interest in Harlan since his days at Columbia Law School three decades ago.


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