Gerald A. Berlin, courtesy Boston Globe

Gerald A. Berlin, (August 9, 1919 in Hampton, Virginia – September 1, 2012)[1] was a member of the Virginia Glee Club during the Glee Club 1936-1937, 1937-1938, and 1939-1940 seasons. He was a second year during the 1937-1938 season.[2]

After graduation, Berlin attended law school at Yale University. During World War II, he was a lieutenant in the Navy who commanded a minesweeper. Practicing law in Massachusetts, he was the first head of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Civil Rights Division, as well as regional counsel to the American Jewish Congress and president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He worked on several notable cases, including successfully challenging a state law requiring teachers to swear a loyalty oath to the Constitution; securing the right for the musical Hair to be staged in Boston; and helping Susanna Kaysen gain access to her psychiatric records while writing her memoir Girl, Interrupted. [3]

His most notable case may have been his authorship of an amicus brief in the Supreme Court decision of Gideon vs. Wainwright (March 16, 1963), where he noted that the denial of counsel to prisoners who could not afford it was based on a decision that was "already an anachronism when handed down" which "has spawned twenty years of bad law." That phrase was echoed in the decision authored by Justice Hugo Black.[4]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.