University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Higginbotham, Aloyisus Leon Jr.
Judge : Federal, Article III
A. Leon Higginbotham was born on February 25, 1928, in Trenton, N.J. Higginbotham attended Purdue University from 1944-46 and then transferred to Antioch College where he earned a B.A. 1949. Three years later in 1952 he graduated with high honors from Yale University Law School. After an active ...
A. Leon Higginbotham was born on February 25, 1928, in Trenton, N.J. Higginbotham attended Purdue University from 1944-46 and then transferred to Antioch College where he earned a B.A. 1949. Three years later in 1952 he graduated with high honors from Yale University Law School. After an active legal career including many years as a federal judge, he died on December 14, 1998. He was married twice and had four children.
He held a variety of positions early in his career including stints as: a Philadelphia County assistant district attorney (1953-54); a partner in the law firm of Norris, Green, Harris & Higginbotham, in Philadelphia (1954-62); a special hearing officer for conscientious objectors for the U.S. Justice Department (1960-62); a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (1962-64); and a commissioner of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (1961-62). Then, from 1964 until his retirement in 1993, he was a federal judge serving first a federal district court judge for the U.S. District Court for the East District (1964-77) then on the U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit (1977-93). He then he was counsel to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton (1993-98) and a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (1993-98) and he served as an international mediator of first South African election in which blacks were allowed to vote in 1994.
Among his many awards are the nation's highest civilian award -- the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995), the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award (1994), the Spingarn Medal (1996) and numerous honorary degrees.
This additional biographical data was taken from the Federal Judicial Center
on Aug 15, 2016:
Higginbotham, Aloyisus Leon Jr.
Born February 25, 1928, in Trenton, NJ
Died December 14, 1998, in Boston, MA
Federal Judicial Service:
Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Received a recess appointment from Lyndon B. Johnson on January 6, 1964, to a seat vacated by J. Cullen Ganey; nominated to the same position by Lyndon B. Johnson on February 3, 1964. Confirmed by the Senate on March 14, 1964, and received commission on March 17, 1964. Service terminated on November 7, 1977, due to appointment to another judicial position.
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Nominated by Jimmy Carter on September 19, 1977, to a seat vacated by Francis Lund Van Dusen. Confirmed by the Senate on October 7, 1977, and received commission on October 11, 1977. Served as chief judge, 1990-1991. Assumed senior status due to certified disability on January 31, 1991. Service terminated on March 5, 1993, due to retirement.
Antioch College, B.A., 1949
Yale Law School, LL.B., 1952
Law clerk, Hon. Curtis Bok, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County [Pennsylvania], 1952-1953
Assistant district attorney, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 1953-1954
Private practice, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1954-1962
Special deputy attorney general, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1956-1962
Special hearing officer for conscientious objectors, U.S. Department of Justice, 1960-1962
Commissioner, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 1961-1962
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, 1962-1964
Private practice, New York City and Washington, D.C., 1993-1998
Professor, Harvard University, 1993-1998
Nominated to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 25, 1963; no Senate vote
: Cooper v. Noble
: Monmouth County Correctional Institution Inmates v. Lanzaro
: Inmates of the Allegheny County Jail v. Wecht
: Peterkin v. Jeffes
: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Porter
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