Walk into the U.S. courthouse at the corner of Sixth and Market streets and a large, commemorative plaque advises you are standing in the Edward R. Becker lobby. It’s in honor of the late chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who was admired and beloved as much for his judicial brilliance as his devotion to doing good. Indeed, just a block away stands another tribute to Becker. On the corner of Sixth and Chestnut, a street sign grants the name Judge Edward R. Becker Way to the stretch of Chestnut in front of Independence Hall. It recognizes Becker’s tireless efforts to reopen that block after it had closed following the 9/11 attacks.

Yet, it is not any of Becker’s groundbreaking legal opinions or civic feats that has me thinking about him these days more often than I usually do. I can’t stop thinking about his ethics and integrity, and his love and respect for the law. Knowing him all my life as I did, I’m sure he would be aghast at both the relentless attacks on judges and our legal system, and the ongoing revelations of questionable ethics among members of the U.S. Supreme Court. I would also venture to suggest he wouldn’t have stayed silent about it. You see, to me, he was not Judge Becker, he was Uncle Eddy, my mother’s brother. Before he became a federal trial and then appellate judge, he was the law partner of my grandfather and my father.