Gignoux, Edward Thaxter

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

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During his 30-year career in the federal courts, Edward Thaxter Gignoux developed a reputation as an articulate, compassionate, and competent trial judge. He was also a leader in the fields of judicial ethics, court administration,

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Edward T. Gignoux.


and trial practice and technique. He showcased his skills in a number of high-profile cases?including the CONTEMPT trial of Abbie Hoffman and other defendants known as the CHICAGO EIGHT (In re Dellinger, 370 F. Supp. 1304, N.D. Ill., E.D. [1973]).

Gignoux was born in Portland, Maine, on June 28, 1916. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1937 and went on to Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from the law school in 1940 and began his legal career with the firm of Slee, O'Brian, Hellings, and Ulsh, in Buffalo. After a year in Buffalo, he joined the Washington, D.C., firm of Covington, Burling, Rublee, Acheson, and Shorb.

WORLD WAR II interrupted Gignoux's Washington, D.C., career after just a few months. In 1942, Gignoux joined the U.S. Army. During his three-year tour of duty with the First Cavalry Division in the Southwest Pacific, he rose to the rank of major and was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

After the war, Gignoux returned to Covington, Burling, in Washington, D.C., to resume the PRACTICE OF LAW, but a bout with malaria, contracted during his years in service, forced a return to his native Maine for convalescence. As his health returned, Gignoux joined the Portland, Maine, firm of Verrill, Dana, Walker, Philbrick, and Whitehouse, and he married Hildegard Schuyler.

Gignoux and his wife had two children as they settled into life in Portland. In addition to practicing law, Gignoux was named assistant corporation counsel for the city of Portland, and he was twice elected to a three-year term on the Portland City Council, serving from 1949 to 1955.

By 1957, Gignoux was well-known and respected in Maine legal and political circles, and he was a logical choice to fill a vacancy on the federal bench. He was appointed U.S. district judge for the District of Maine in August 1957 by President DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, and he served as Maine's only federal court judge for the next 20 years.

One of the first cases he heard as a federal judge was an antitrust action brought by the federal government against the Maine Lobster-men's Association?an important group in a...

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