Erwin N. Griswold, 90, the U.S. solicitor general under Presidents Johnson and Nixon whose more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court included the Pentagon Papers arguments, died Saturday in Boston. His legal career spanned 65 years, more than half of them as a faculty member at Harvard Law School where he was dean for 21 years before joining the Johnson administration in 1967 as solicitor general, the federal government's top-ranking courtroom lawyer. Mr. Griswold's most famous case may have come in 1971, when he argued unsuccessfully on behalf of the Nixon administration that publication of the Pentagon Papers -- which chronicled the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War -- would "have the effect of causing immediate and irreparable harm to the security of the United States." Another major case involved the First Amendment and the Johnson administration's contention that the federal government could force radio and TV stations to broadcast opposing viewpoints. The Supreme Court agreed, and in 1969 upheld the so-called "fairness doctrine."
THE BALTIMORE SUN