John C. Harrison

  • James Madison Distinguished Professor of Law
  • Thomas F. Bergin Teaching 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


Works in Progress

Book Chapters

Immunity Rules, in Wesley Hohfeld A Century Later: Edited Work, Select Personal Papers, and Original Commentaries, Cambridge University Press, 386–418 (2022).
Executive Administration of the Government’s Resources and the Delegation Problem, in The Administrative State Before the Supreme Court: Perspectives on the Nondelegation Doctrine, The AEI Press, 232–273 (2022).
Dissenting, in What Obergefell v. Hodges Should Have Said: The Nation’s Top Legal Experts Rewrite America’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision, Yale University Press, 262–280 (2020).
International Law in U.S. Courts Within the Limits of the Constitution, in The Restatement and Beyond: The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Foreign Relations Law, Oxford University Press, 265–282 (2020).
New Property, Entrenchment, and the Fiscal Constitution, in Fiscal Challenges: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Budget Policy, Cambridge University Press, 401–415 (2008).
The Story of In Re Neagle: Sex, Money, Politics, Perjury, Homicide, Federalism, and Executive Power, in Presidential Power Stories, Thomson/West, 133–163 (2008).
The Power of Congress over the Terms of Justices of the Supreme Court, in Reforming the Court: Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices, Carolina Academic Press, 361–373 (2006).
Democratic Theory and Constitutional Law, in Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, Macmillan Reference USA, 765–767 (2 ed. 2000).

Articles & Reviews

Vacatur of Rules Under the Administrative Procedure Act, 40 Yale Journal on Regulation Bulletin 119–134 (2023).
Federal Judicial Power and Federal Equity Without Federal Equity Powers, 97 Notre Dame Law Review 1911–1940 (2022).
Seila Law and the Law of Judicial Review, University of Chicago Law Review Online 77–86 (2020).
Public Rights, Private Privileges, and Article III, 54 Georgia Law Review 143–216 (2019).
The Constitution and the Law of Nations, 106 Georgetown Law Journal 1659–1705 (2018).
The Federalist Society 2016 National Lawyers Convention Showcase Panel II: Rules versus Standards in Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation (with Akhil Reed Amar, Frank Easterbrook & Victoria Nourse), 53 Tulsa Law Review 539–557 (2018).
The Unitary Executive and the Scope of Executive Power, 126 Yale Law Journal Forum 374–380 (2017).
The Political Questions Doctrines, 67 American University Law Review 457–528 (2017).
Legislative Power and Judicial Power, 31 Constitutional Commentary 295–316 (2016).
The American Act of State Doctrine, 47 Georgetown Journal of International Law 507–571 (2016).
The Relations between the Courts and the Law, 35 University of Queensland Law Journal 99–114 (2016).
Legislative Power, Executive Duty, and Legislative Lawsuits, 31 Journal of Law & Politics 103–137 (2015).
Libertarian Administrative Law, or Administrative Law?, 82 University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue 134–150 (2015).
Public Choice and Judicial Virtue, 10 Journal of Law, Economics, & Policy 633–648 (2014).
Severability, Remedies, and Constitutional Adjudication, 83 George Washington Law Review 56–100 (2014).
In Memoriam: Robert H. Bork, 36 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 1245–1252 (2013).
Power, Duty, and Facial Invalidity, 16 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 501–547 (2013).
Robert Bork, Judicial Creativity, and Judicial Subjectivity, 80 University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue 205–217 (2013).
Enumerated Federal Power and the Necessary and Proper Clause (reviewing Gary Lawson et al., The Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause) 78 University of Chicago Law Review 1101–1131 (2011).
The State Action Principle and Its Critics (with Lillian R. BeVier), 96 Virginia Law Review 1767–1835 (2010).
Ex Parte Young, 60 Stanford Law Review 989–1022 (2008).
On the Hypotheses That Lie at the Foundations of Originalism, 31 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 473–483 (2008).
The Constitution of Economic Liberty, 45 San Diego Law Review 709–727 (2008).
Sosa and Substantive Solutions to Jurisdictional Problems, 93 Virginia Law Review in Brief 23–32 (2007).
Addition by Subtraction, 92 Virginia Law Review 1853–1869 (2006).
International Adjudicators and Judicial Independence, 30 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 127–136 (2006).
Judicial Interpretive Finality and the Constitutional Text, 23 Constitutional Commentary 33–45 (2006).
State Sovereign Immunity and Congress’s Enforcement Powers, 2006 Supreme Court Review 353–400 (2006).
Uniformity, Diversity, and the Process of Making Human Rights Norms, 3 University of St. Thomas Law Journal 334–343 (2005).
Federal Appellate Jurisdiction over Questions of State Law in State Courts, 7 The Green Bag Second Series 353–360 (2004).
Time, Change, and the Constitution, 90 Virginia Law Review 1601–1612 (2004).
Forms of Originalism and the Study of History, 26 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 83–94 (2003).
Review of Black, Structure and Relationship in Constitutional Law (reviewing Charles L. Black, Jr., Structure and Relationship in Constitutional Law) 89 Virginia Law Review 1779–1791 (2003).
Words, Words, Words, All the Way Down? (reviewing H. Jefferson Powell, A Community Built on Words:The Constitution in History and Politics) 7 The Green Bag Second Series 91–100 (2003).
Review of Whittington, Constitutional Construction (reviewing Keith E. Whittington, Constitutional Construction and Constitutional Interpretation) 13 Constitutional Political Economy 215–218 (2002).
The Lawfulness of the Reconstruction Amendments, 68 University of Chicago Law Review 375–462 (2001).
Nobody for President, 16 Journal of Law & Politics 699–715 (2000).
Pardon as Prerogative, 13 Federal Sentencing Reporter 147–149 (2000).
The Power of Congress over the Rules of Precedent, 50 Duke Law Journal 503–543 (2000).
The Fiscal Powers and the 1930s: Entrenchment, 41 William & Mary Law Review 295–308 (1999).
Would All the Laws but One Be Close Enough for Government Work? (reviewing William H. Rehnquist; and Edward Zwick, All the Laws but One: Civil Liberties in Wartime<em>; and </em>The Siege) 2 The Green Bag Second Series 333–341 (1999).
In the Beginning Are the States, 22 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 173–179 (1998).
Jurisdiction, Congressional Power, and Constitutional Remedies, 86 Georgia Law Journal 2513–2524 (1998).
Review of Currie, The Constitution in Congress (reviewing David P. Currie, The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801) 15 Constitutional Commentary 383–395 (1998).
The Constitutional Origins and Implications of Judicial Review, 84 Virginia Law Review 333–387 (1998).
Panel Four: Relimiting Federal Judicial Power: Should Congress Play a Role?, 13 Journal of Law & Politics 627–668 (1997).
Substantive Due Process and the Constitutional Text, 83 Virginia Law Review 493–558 (1997).
Equality, Race Discrimination, and the Fourteenth Amendment, 13 Constitutional Commentary 243–255 (1996).
Richard Epstein’s Big Picture, 63 University of Chicago Law Review 837–876 (1996).
Utopia’s Law, Politics’ Constitution, 19 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 917–940 (1996).
Panel II: Conducting Ethics Investigations amid Partisan Influences, 11 Journal of Law & Politics 467–495 (1995).
If the Eye Offend Thee, Turn Off the Color, 91 Michigan Law Review 1213–1241 (1993).
Free Exercise Clause As a Rule about Rules, 15 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 169–180 (1992).
Reconstructing the Privileges or Immunities Clause, 101 Yale Law Journal 1385–1474 (1992).
Whose Gods Are These, Anyway? (reviewing Earl M. Maltz, Civil Rights, the Constitution, and Congress, 1863-1869) 1992 Public Interest Law Review 108–114 (1992).

Reports & Datasets

StatementThe President’s Request to Extend the Service of Director Robert Mueller of the FBI Unit, S. Hrg. 112-94 , US Government Printing Office 19–21, 31 (2011).
StatementExamining the History and Legality of Executive Branch Czars , US Government Printing Office 11–12, 58 (2009).
StatementChild Custody Protection Act: Protecting Parents’ Rights and Children’s Lives , US Government Printing Office 13–14, 19 (2004).
StatementChild Custody Protection Act , US Government Printing Office 8–10, 32 (2001).
StatementChild Custody Protection Act , US Government Printing Office 21–23, 26 (1999).
StatementBackground and History of Impeachment , US Government Printing Office 77–80 (1998).
StatementThe Child Custody Protection Act , US Government Printing Office 35–37 (1998).
StatementHate Crimes Prevention Act of 1997 , US Government Printing Office 55–59, 73 (1998).
Statements (with Lillian R. BeVier)The Propriety of the Taxpayer-Funded White House Data Base , US Government Printing Office 121–145 (1996).
StatementAbuse of Taxpayer Funds to Subsidize Lobbying and Political Activity , US Government Printing Office 360–387 (1995).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

To the Bag: No Congressional Approval, 11 The Green Bag Second Series 283 (2008).
Roberts Won’t Make Law; Legislatures Will, Richmond Times-Dispatch E1 (July 31, 2005).

Current Courses

All Courses

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




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