The Honorable Clifford Scott Green Lectureship was established in 2003 to perpetuate the civil rights legacy of Judge Clifford Scott Green LAW ’51 and to honor his distinguished service to Temple University.
Judge Green was described as “an inspiration, a mentor, a teacher, a role model, and a friend to innumerable minority and non-minority law clerks, interns and students.” Clifford Scott Green grew up in Philadelphia in a poor but close and supportive family. He fulfilled their aspirations for him by being the first in the family to finish high school, then college and law school. As a law student he distinguished himself with honors for the highest grades in constitutional law and conflicts of laws, and as an associate editor of the law review. In 1952, Judge Green joined the first African-American law firm in Pennsylvania, which later became Norris, Schmidt, Green, Harris, Higginbotham and Brown.
Judge Green received numerous awards for his community service, integrity and professional excellence, including the first Judge William Hastie Award from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1985. In 2002, he was awarded the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. He was appointed judge of the County Court of Philadelphia in 1964, and President Richard M. Nixon named him to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1971, where he assumed senior status in 1988.
During 36 years on the federal bench, Judge Green presided over a number of notable cases, and was regarded as one of the most popular judges in the district. Green was a long-time adjunct professor at the law school, teaching evidence, criminal law and criminal procedure. In the early 1970s, he was instrumental in creating the Temple-LEAP mock trial competition for high school students. He was a founding member of the law school board of visitors and a member of the university’s board of trustees and, in 1997, he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the university.