Gesell, Gerhard

Gesell, Gerhard (Alden)

(1910–93) judge; born in Los Angeles. (brother of Arnold Gesell). A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School (1935), he worked for several years as a government lawyer before joining a private Washington firm. He had been in private practice for 25 years when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him a U.S. district judge for Washington, D.C., in 1968. He ruled in 1971 that The Washington Post had a First Amendment right to publish the leaked government documents known as the "Pentagon Papers." (In that famous case, first The New York Times and later The Post published documents that disclosed official misinformation and duplicity regarding U.S. policy in Vietnam.) He was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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