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John Q. Barrett

Professor of Law

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 and a Board member 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 many 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 Jackson's 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 him 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.

Some recent activities:  On July 6, Professor Barrett delivered a lecture, "Allies Among Allies: Justice Robert H. Jackson and His U.K. Colleagues on the Road the Nuremberg, 1945," at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies' Cambridge Lectures 2017, held at Queens' College, University of Cambridge, England.  On June 23, Professor Barrett delivered the inaugural Alan Y. Cole Lecture, "Robert H. Jackson on Immigrants, Citizens, Power, & Liberty," at a Robert H. Jackson Center conference on Immigration, Security, and American values (for video, click here).  On June 11, Professor Barrett was the inaugural Milton Mann Lecturer, on "The Nuremberg Trials," at the Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County, Stamford, CT.  On May 4, Professor Barrett delivered the keynote lecture, "The Rule of Law at Nuremberg and Lessons for Today," at the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) Spring Education Seminar, in Ottawa, Canada.  On April 23, for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Professor Barrett published an op-ed piece, "Humanity's March, From Nuremberg to Today," in the Jerusalem Post.  Last November 21, he delivered a lecture, "Justice Jackson & the Nuremberg Trial," at the New Jersey Judicial College. On October 29th, he delivered a lecture, "The Nuremberg Trial: Seventy Years & Forward," at the Robert H. Jackson Center (for video, beginning at 18;00, click here).  On October 28th, he spoke about "The Nuremberg Trials & Justice Jackson's Role" at an Erie Institute of Law program on Legal Ethics & the Holocaust, held in Buffalo, NY (for audio, click here; for panel Q&A video, click here). On October 24th, he lectured at The Center for American and International Law (CAIL) symposium, in Dallas, Texas, on the Nuremberg trials (for video, beginning at 22:15, click here). On September 30th, he delivered a principal lecture, "Finding Nuremberg and Its Legacies," at the 10th annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, held this year in Nuremberg, Germany, on the 70th anniversary of the International Military Tribunal's judgments (for video, click here). On September 16th, he was the Constitution Day speaker at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, speaking about presidents and the Constitution. On September 12th, he delived a keynote lecture at the Colorado Judicial Conference, on the Nuremberg trials and their lessons. On September 7th, he spoke at the Philadelphia Bar Association about Justice Jackson and his law clerk James M. Marsh.  On July 20th, Professor Barrett spoke at the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut in Nuremberg, Germany, on President Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court. In July, Barrett also was a guest expert and lecturer, in Auschwitz and in Nuremberg, in Creighton University's "Nuremberg to the Hague" summer law program. On July 11, at Chautauqua Institution, he introduced Professor Tracey Meares's Robert H. Jackson Lecture (for video, click here). On June 28, he lectured, at the Jewish Federation of Springfield, IL, about the Nuremberg trials. On June 9, he spoke at a Nuremberg trials commemoration at the California Court of Appeal in Riverside. On May 16, he delivered in Winnipeg the 11th annual Kanee Lecture, hosted by the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada. On May 4, he delivered a lecture, "The History of the Nuremberg Trials," at a March of the Living International, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights & Jagiellonian University symposium in Krakow, Poland (click here for video).  On April 29th, he spoke, also about the Nuremberg trials, at the Reform Temple of Forest Hill's Yom HaShoah commemoration service. On November 20, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg trial, Professor Barrett lectured in Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg's Palace of Justice and then moderated a conversation among three men who worked on the trial during 1945-46 (click here for video).

Before joining the St. John's faculty, John Q. Barrett was Counselor to the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice.  From 1988-1993, he 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 Nuremberg 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 July 17, 2017.