John Q. Barrett


John Q. Barrett is a Professor of Law at St. John's University in New York City, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure and Legal History.  He also is the Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.

Work on Justice Jackson:  Professor Barrett is writing a biography of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954).  This work will include the first inside account of Justice Jackson's service, by appointment of President Truman, as the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Germany, of the principal surviving Nazi leaders during 1945 and 1946.

The Jackson List: Professor Barrett sends occasional emails to tens of thousands of subscribers around the world who are interested in Justice Jackson and related topics. To read archived copies of Jackson List posts, click here. To join the Jackson List, which does not display recipient identities or email addresses, send a "subscribe" note to

Justice Jackson's book That Man: Fifty years after Robert H. Jackson's death, Professor Barrett discovered and edited his previously unknown manuscript, now an acclaimed book, That Man:  An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Oxford University Press). That Man, an eloquent memoir of FDR from Jackson first meeting in 1911 through their close working relationship and friendship during Roosevelt's presidency, the New Deal years and World War II, is both FDR biography and Jackson autobiography.  That Man, a Book of the Month Club main selection, has been reviewed prominently and is assigned regularly in high schools, colleges and graduate schools.

Recent activities:  On March 25, Professor Barrett spoke at DLA Piper's Marbury Institute, regarding "The Rule of Law at Nuremberg and Its Lessons for Today.  On March 11, he gave a lecture, "Dawning, Developing Comprehension of Nazi Law-Breaking & Atrocities:  Justice Robert H. Jackson on the Road to Nuremberg, 1940-1945," at a Boston College conference, "Legally Blind: Law, Ethics & the Third Reich."  On December 16, 2014, Professor Barrett spoke at the Columbia University Seminar on the Problem of Peace, discussing the International Criminal Court and prosecutions of sitting heads of state.  On December 3, he delivered a lecture, "Justice Jackson, the IMT & OMGUS:  Delivering 'the assistance of Counsel' to the Nuremberg Defendants," at a conference on "The Defence in International Criminal Courts," at Philipps Universitat in Marburg, Germany.  On November 19, he delivered a lecture, "The Rule of Law at Nuremberg, 1946-1946 (and Its Lessons for Today)," at the National Judicial Institute's Nova Scotia All Courts Education Seminar in Halifax, N.S.  On November 6, he delivered a lecture, "Kristallnacht:  Perpetration, Comprehension & Accountability," at a Kristallnacht commemoration sponsored by the Brandeis Association and the Queens Women’s Bar Association, in Queens, New York.  On October 29, he spoke at the Sid Jacobson JCC in Roslyn, New York, about the Nuremberg trials.  On October 25, he was a panelist, discussing the Supreme Court, President Franklin Roosevelt, and the constitutional powers of Congress, at the Federal Bar Council's Fall bench and bar retreat. On October 21, Professor Barrett spoke in Rochester, New York, at a Monroe County Bar Association program, about Justice Jackson and his Rochester activities and connections.  On July 21, Professor Barrett introduced Professor Akhil Reed Amar, who then delivered Chautauqua's 10th annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States (click here for video).  On July 16, Professor Barrett delivered a lecture, "New Law and Not-New Law:  Justice Jackson's Opening Statement at Nuremberg, Addressing the Legality of the Trial," as part of a program in Courtroom 600 in the Palace of Justice, Nuremberg, Germany, site of the historic trials following World War II.  On May 8, Professor Barrett spoke at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York's ceremony commemorating the life and service of the Honorable Lawrence E. Walsh (1912-2014) (click here for Professor Barrett's remarks).  On May 21, he delivered the 32nd annual Jewish Law Day lecture in Philadelphia, sponsored by the Brandeis Law Society.

Before joining the St. John's faculty, John Q. Barrett was Counselor to U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich. From 1988-1993, Barrett was Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh (Iran/Contra).  From 1986-1988, Barrett served as a law clerk to Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

In addition to teaching Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure, Professor Barrett has taught seminars on American Judicial Biography, the Hughes and Stone Courts (1930-46), and the Nuremberg Trial; Introduction to Law & the Legal Profession; Professional Responsibility; and White Collar Crime.  He also has taught Constitutional Law modules in St. John's Summer Prep Program for College Students and Nuremberg-related courses in summer programs at the University of Potsdam Law School in Germany, at ISDE/University of Barcelona in Spain, and in Nuremberg itself. 

Professor Barrett speaks regularly on the Supreme Court, Justice Jackson, Nuremberg, FDR, and other legal and historical topics in public venues and to community, campus, religious, corporate, legal profession and other audiences and groups throughout the United States and abroad. Professor Barrett also is a regular national media commentator on legal and historical issues.

Professor Barrett serves on the board of the Historical Society of the New York Courts.  He previously chaired the New York City Bar Association's Legal History Committee and served on the International Expert Advisory Council of the International Nurember Principles Academy.  At St. John's, he is Faculty Coordinator of the St. Thomas More Scholarship Program and adviser to two student groups, the American Constitution Society (ACS) chapter and the Gay & Lesbian Law Association (GALLA).

Last updated March 26, 2015.