Bazelon, David

Bazelon, David (Lionel)

(1909–93) judge; born in Superior, Wis. His father, a storekeeper, died when he was two and left the family in poverty. Bazelon worked his way through the University of Illinois and Northwestern University and began practicing law in 1932. Confirmed to the bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, in 1950, he became chief judge in 1962. He earned a reputation as a strong civil rights advocate, and issued landmark rulings that expanded the scope of the insanity defense in criminal cases. He also issued important rulings that protected the employment rights of homosexuals and that led to a government ban on the pesticide DDT.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.