John C. Harrison

  • James Madison Distinguished Professor of Law

John C. Harrison joined the faculty in 1993 as an associate professor of law after a distinguished career with the U.S. Department of Justice. His teaching subjects include constitutional history, federal courts, remedies, corporations, civil procedure, legislation and property. In 2008 he was on leave from the Law School to serve as counselor on international law in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State.

A 1977 graduate of the University of Virginia, Harrison earned his law degree in 1980 at Yale, where he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal and editor and articles editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. He was an associate at Patton Boggs & Blow in Washington, D.C., and clerked for Judge Robert Bork on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He worked with the Department of Justice from 1983-93, serving in numerous capacities, including deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel (1990-93).

Scholarship Profile: The Constitution Outside the Supreme Court (Virginia Journal 2001)


  • J.D.
    Yale Law School
  • B.A.
    University of Virginia


"Immunity Rules," in Shyam Balganesh, Ted Sichelman & Henry Smith, eds., The Legacy of Wesley Hohfeld: Edited Major Works, Select Personal Papers, and Original Commentaries (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

“The American Act of State Doctrine,” 47 Geo. J. Int’l L. 507 (2016).

"The Political Question Doctrines"

"Legislative Power and Judicial Power," Constitutional Commentary.

"Legislative Power, Executive Duty, and Legislative Lawsuits,” 31 J.L. & Pol. 103 (2015).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“Libertarian Administrative Law, or Administrative Law?,” 82 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue 134 (2015).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Severability, Remedies, and Constitutional Adjudication"

“Public Choice and Judicial Virtue,” 10 J.L. Econ. & Pol’y 633 (2014).

“Severability, Remedies, and Constitutional Adjudication,” 83 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 56 (2014).

"In Memoriam: Robert H. Bork," 36 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 1245 (2013).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Power, Duty, and Facial Invalidity," 16 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 501 (2013).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Robert Bork, Judicial Creativity, and Judicial Subjectivity," 80 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue 205 (2013).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Habeas Corpus Suspension Clause and the Right of Natural Liberty" (work in progress)

“Enumerated Federal Power and the Necessary and Proper Clause,” 78 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1101 (2011) (reviewing Gary Lawson et al., The Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause (2010)).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The State Action Principle and its Critics" (with Lillian Bevier), 96 Va. L. Rev. 1767 (2010).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"On the Hypotheses That Lie at the Foundations of Originalism," 31 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y473 (2008).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"New Property, Entrenchment, and the Fiscal Constitution," in Elizabeth Garrett et al. eds., Fiscal Challenges: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Budget Policy 401 (Cambridge U. Press, 2008).

"Ex Parte Young," 60 Stan. L. Rev. 989 (2008).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Constitution of Economic Liberty," 45 San Diego L. Rev. 709 (2008). 
HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Relationship between Limitations on and Requirements of Article III Adjudication,” 95Cal. L. Rev. 1367 (2007).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Addition by Subtraction,” 92 Va. L. Rev. 1853 (2006).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“International Adjudicators and Judicial Independence,” 30 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 127 (2006).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Judicial Interpretive Finality and the Constitutional Text,” 23 Const. Comment. 33 (2006).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Power of Congress over the Terms of Justices of the Supreme Court,” in Roger C. Cramton & Paul D. Carrington, eds., Reforming the Court: Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices 361 (Carolina Academic Press, 2006).

"State Sovereign Immunity and Congress’s Enforcement Powers," 2006 Sup. Ct. Rev.353. 

“Federal Appellate Jurisdiction over Questions of State Law in State Courts,” 7 Green Bag 2d 353 (2004).

“Time, Change, and the Constitution,” 90 Va. L. Rev. 1601 (2004).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Forms of Originalism and the Study of History,” 26 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol’y 83 (2003).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Lawfulness of the Reconstruction Amendments," 68 U. Chi. L. Rev. 375 (2001).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Pardon As Prerogative," 13 Fed. Sentencing Rep. 147 (2000-01).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Nobody for President," 16 J.L. & Pol. 699 (2000).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Power of Congress Over the Rules of Precedent," 50 Duke L. J. 503 (2000).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Fiscal Powers and the 1930s: Entrenchment," 41 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 295 (1999).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Jurisdiction, Congressional Power, and Constitutional Remedies," 86 Geo. L. J. 2513 (1998).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Constitutional Origins and Implications of Judicial Review," 84 Va. L. Rev. 333 (1998).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Substantive Due Process and the Constitutional Text," 83 Va. L. Rev. 493 (1997).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Power of Congress to Limit the Jurisdiction of Federal Courts and the Text of Article III," 64 U. Chi. L. Rev. 203 (1997).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Equality, Race Discrimination, and the Fourteenth Amendment," 13 Const. Comment. 243 (1996).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Reconstructing the Privileges or Immunities Clause," 101 Yale L. J. 1385 (1992).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Book Reviews:

Review of Black, Structure and Relationship in Constitutional Law, 89 Va. L. Rev. 1779 (2003).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Words, Words, Words, All the Way Down?” (reviewing Powell, A Community Built on Words), 7 Green Bag 2d 91 (2003).

Review of Keith E. Whittington, Constitutional Construction and Constitutional Interpretation, 13 Const. Pol. Econ. 215 (2002).

Review of Currie, The Constitution In Congress: The Federalist Period, 15 Const. Comment. 383 (1998).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Utopia's Law, Politics' Constitution" (reviewing Ronald Dworkin, Freedom's Law), 19 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 917 (1996).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Richard Epstein's Big Picture" (reviewing Epstein, Simple Rules for a Complex World), 63U. Chi. L. Rev. 837 (1996).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"If the Eye Offend Thee, Turn Off the Color" (reviewing Kull, The Color-Blind Constitution), 91 Mich. L. Rev. 1213 (1993).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Current Courses

All Courses

Constitutional History II: From Reconstruction to Brown
Civil Procedure
Federal Income Tax
Law and Political Participation
Seminar in Ethical Values


Book Panel on Professor Saikrishna Prakash's "Imperial from the Beginning"

Faculty in the News