Al Gerhardstein, noted Cincinnati civil rights attorney, has donated to the University of Cincinnati Libraries’ Archives and Rare Books Library, papers documenting his nearly 50-year career in civil rights litigation and advocacy, with focuses in reproductive rights, prisoner’s rights, policing, employment discrimination, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.
Material to be found in the extensive collection includes briefs, pleadings, depositions, trial transcriptions, newspaper, magazine and journal articles, as well as correspondence and speeches spanning Gerhardstein’s career and notable legal cases. There are 184 boxes available for research, with 45 more boxes sealed under court order.
Prominent cases in the collection include:
- Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case establishing marriage equality for same-sex couples in all 50 states. Gerhardstein represented Jim Obergefell in this fight to be recognized as the husband of John Arthur.
- Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati v. Project Jericho, et al., which was a lawsuit against anti-abortion groups for their continued harassment of women seeking abortion and their providers, after a member of one of the groups firebombed the Margaret Sanger Center abortion clinic in 1985.
- Prisoner rights lawsuit in response to the 1993 Lucasville Prison riots, where Gerhardstein represented inmates against prison officials for failure to protect them during the riot and the forces that caused the riot.
- Litigation to declare unconstitutional Article XII, which was voted into the Cincinnati City Charter in 1993 and actively prohibited Cincinnati from protecting LGBT people from discrimination.
- Creation of the Collaborative Agreement as a partnership between the ACLU, Black United Front, the city of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police, which re-oriented the philosophy of policing in Cincinnati towards a Community Problem Oriented Policing (CPOP) model. It was the result of a civil rights action filed on behalf of a class of African American citizens of Cincinnati based on discriminatory policing including racial profiling, excessive force and disproportionate arrests of African Americans. The success of the Collaborative Agreement made Cincinnati a national role model for police reform.