Judge Becker, for whom I had the extraordinary privilege of clerking, recently passed away. He was the model of a judge and a human being: devoted to family and to his work, passionate about getting the law right, and tireless in his endeavors both in individual cases and in improving judicial administration generally. The only time I ever heard him raise his voice was when a lawyer insisted on a highly technical and unnecessary interpretation of the law that would cut off apparently meritorious claims and the Judge asked, "Is that fair?" The case of In re Rachmones was always his starting point.
The block of downtown Philadelphia on which the Liberty Bell sits -- closed after 9/11 and reopened to the public after Judge Becker's dedicated lobbying efforts -- has been renamed for him, a fitting tribute to a man and a judge who constantly represented the best in politics, in law, and in humanity. Here is a picture of one of the new signs:
He will be sorely missed.