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Arlin Marvin Adams (born April 16, 1921) is a retired senior federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


Early life and education

Born in Philadelphia, Adams earned a bachelor's degree in 1941 from Temple University, a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1947, and a master's degree from Temple in 1950. While at Penn, he served as editor-in-chief of the law review. [1]

Early career

Adams worked in private legal practice in Philadelphia from 1947 until 1969. He also was a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania from 1952 until 1956.[1] He was a secretary of public welfare for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1966.[2]

Federal judicial service

On September 22, 1969, President Richard Nixon nominated Adams to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that had been vacated by the decision by Judge Harry Ellis Kalodner to take senior status. The United States Senate confirmed Adams on October 1, 1969.[1]

In 1975, Adams was considered by President Gerald Ford as a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States. Adams was one of two finalists; Ford ultimately wound up successfully nominating the other finalist, John Paul Stevens.[3]

Retirement from the bench and later career

Adams retired outright from the bench (rather than taking senior status) on January 2, 1987. He returned to private practice, joining the firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP. Adams is well-known for his post-judiciary roles in significant legal cases. In 1994, he conducted an investigation of the Pennsylvania attorney general for alleged criminal activity, and investigated allegations of improper medical research at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Soon after in 1995, he was appointed to serve as a trustee in the New Era bankruptcy case, at that time the largest nonprofit bankruptcy in history. He also served as the Chapter 11 Trustee in the successful reorganization of the Coram Healthcare Corporation in the Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. From 1998 to 2002, Judge Adams served as independent counsel in an investigation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that uncovered widespread corruption. [1][4]

Board positions, appointments and honors

Adams is a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, and has previously served as a trustee for the William Penn Foundation, the National Constitution Center, and Bryn Mawr College. He is a former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and past president of both the American Judicature Society and American Philosophical Society. He also is the former chair of the U.S. Supreme Court Judicial Fellows Commission.

In 2001, Susquehanna University created the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society, and in 2005, with the support of the Annenberg Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania Law School established the Arlin M. Adams Professorship in Constitutional Law. The Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University established the Arlin M. Adams Professor of Legal Writing position in 2007 to recognize Adams' long career as a lawyer and judge.

Books Authored

Nation Dedicated to Religious Liberty: The Constitutional Heritage of the Religion Clauses, Arlin M. Adams, Charles J. Emmerich, Warren E. Burger (University of Pennsylvania Press, August 1990)

Religion and the Public Good: A Bicentennial Forum , William Lee Miller, Martin E. Marty, Arlin M. Adams (Mercer University Press, March 1989)

See also



External links



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