Gunther, Gerald 1927-2002

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GUNTHER, Gerald 1927-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born May 26, 1927, in Usingen, Germany; died of lung cancer July 30, 2002, in Palo Alto, CA. Attorney, educator, and author. Gunther was a prominent legal scholar, especially of U.S. Constitutional law. After emigrating with his family from Germany when he was eleven years old, he went to Brooklyn College, where he earned his A.B. in 1949. He then received his master's degree from Columbia University in 1950, and his law degree from Harvard University in 1953; at Harvard, he also edited the law review. Gunther taught briefly at Brooklyn College before working as a law clerk during the mid-1950s, including a year working for Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was next employed as an associate at a New York City law firm before joining the faculty at Columbia University in 1956, becoming a law professor in 1960. In 1962 he moved to California and was a professor there from 1962 until his retirement in 1995. Gunther, who was Jewish, was interested in constitutional law and civil rights because he remembered the oppression experienced by citizens living under the rule of German Chancellor Adolph Hitler. He became widely respected as a teacher of the U.S. Constitution and edited the seventh edition of the standard textbook on the subject, Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law (1965). He was also well known for his heavily research biography, Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge (1994). Hand was Gunther's mentor, and both men were thought to have been ideal candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court, though they were never called to serve as justices.



Writers Directory, 16th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.


Chicago Tribune, August 2, 2002, section 2, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2002, p. B12.

New York Times, August 1, 2002, p. C15.

Washington Post, August 3, 2002, p. B7.