Gladys Kessler (1938-) is an American jurist who sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton, and confirmed in July 1994.
After receiving her B.A. from Cornell University and LL.B. from Harvard Law School, she was hired by the National Labor Relations Board. She worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Harrison A. Williams (D–NJ), later convicted in the Abscam scandal, and subsequently for U.S. Congressman Jonathan B. Bingham (D–NY). Kessler worked for the New York City Board of Education, and then opened a public interest law firm. In June 1977, she was appointed Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and from 1981 to 1985 served as Presiding Judge of the Family Division. She was President of the National Association of Women Judges from 1983 to 1984, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association Conference of Federal Trial Judges and the U.S. Judicial Conference's Committee on Court Administration and Management.
Kessler is the first judge to consider an appeal that the Executive branch is violating the new Detainee Treatment Act. In 2006, she heard the case of Mohammad Bawazir, a prisoner at Camp Delta. The George W. Bush Administration argued that the Detainee Treatment Act, lesiglation spearheaded by John McCain banning cruel or inhuman treatment, did not apply to Bawazir and other captives in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.