PHILADELPHIA, April 3, 2009 — Yesterday, Temple University Beasley School of Law hosted the 2009 Honorable Clifford Scott Green Portrait Unveiling and Lecture. Temple University Law Professor Robert J. Reinstein presented the annual lecture on the topic “Presidential Power.”
“Every day of his life [my stepfather] was thankful for this building and this school for all that it helped him achieve,” said state Sen. Anthony H. Williams. “But, he never thought of himself as a federal judge, he thought of himself as a human being trying to do what was right for the world.”
The annual lecture started in 2003 to honor Green’s service to the university. Green attended Temple University as an undergraduate and law student, later serving as adjunct professor and a trustee for over 20 years. Green was the inspiration for the Honorable Clifford Scott Green Scholarship Fund, established in 1999 to aid Temple law students committed to public interest law and helped start the Temple LEAP (Law Education and Participation Program) with Peter Liacouras.
Reinstein, a former dean of the Beasley School of Law, chose the topic “Presidential Power,” based on a suggestion from Green before his death in 2007. “He was really concerned,” said Professor Reinstein, “with the legal theories of the Bush administration and the potential, if the theories got accepted by the [conservatives] on the bench, for what could happen.”
Reinstein discussed the connections between American legal precedents and their roots in English history and law. “There’s a lot of wisdom in history,” Reinstein said. “We are currently facing issues that got resolved a long time ago.”
After graduating from Temple, Green worked in private practice, in part with the law firm Norris, Schmidt, Green, Harris, & Higginbotham, the first African-American law firm in Philadelphia. Green then served as a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleases between 1964 and 1972. In December 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Green to a vacated seat on the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. During his career, Green declined a seat on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, remaining on the district court until his death.
Green’s widow Carole Williams Green and sister Eula Green unveiled the portrait of green and stepsons Anthony and Clifford Williams delivered closing remarks.
“I’m grateful for this moment and I’m grateful for this day,” said Anthony Williams, “but most importantly I’m thankful for my stepfather.”
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