Honorable Lubbie Harper, Jr. was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut.
He attended local public schools and graduated from Wilbur L. Cross High School
in 1961. He went on to graduate from the University of New Haven with a Bachelor
of Science degree in 1965. He was awarded a Master’s degree from the University
of Connecticut School of Social Work in 1967 and a Juris Doctor degree from the
University of Connecticut School of Law in 1975. On May 13, 2012, Justice Harper
received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Quinnipiac University School
of Law, and on May 19, 2013, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from
the University of New Haven.
Justice Harper was nominated for a judicial appointment by Governor John G.
Rowland on May 22, 1997, and the oath of office as a Superior Court Judge was
administered to him on July 7, l997. On January 5, 2005, Governor M. Jodi Rell
nominated Justice Harper for elevation to the Appellate Court and the oath of
office as an Appellate Court Judge was administered to him on January 26, 2005.
On February 23, 2011, Governor Dannel P. Malloy nominated Justice Harper for
elevation to the Supreme Court and the oath of office as Supreme Court Justice
was administered to him on March 16, 2011. Following his tenure on the Supreme
Court, Justice Harper currently sits by designation on the Appellate Court.
Justice Harper is a member of the bars of the State of Connecticut, the
United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the United States
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
He is currently the Chairman of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity
in the Criminal Justice System as well as Connecticut’s Representative to the
National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. Justice Harper
is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Legal Studies Program and the Institute
for Social Justice at the University of New Haven and is a participant in the
Judicial Branch's Speakers Bureau Program. Justice Harper is also an Associate
Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University.
Justice Harper previously served as the Chairman of the Edwin Archer Randolph
Diversity Award Committee, a member of the Rules Committee of the Superior Court,
a participant in the Judicial Branch's Mentor Program and a member of the Board of
Directors of the Connecticut Judges Association.
Justice Harper was president of the Board of Directors of the New Haven Legal
Assistance Association for 12 years and a clinical tutor in the trial practice
course at Yale University School of Law. He has been a long-time community activist
and volunteer who served as a board member of many civic and professional organizations,
including the Shirley Frank Foundation, the Children's Museum of Greater New Haven,
the Ulysses S. Grant Foundation, the Dixwell Legal Rights Association and the Urban
League. Justice Harper is a former member of the Board of Governors of the University
of New Haven, the Board of Directors of the University of Connecticut School of Law
Alumni Association and the New Haven Civil Service Commission.
Prior to his judicial appointment, Justice Harper was engaged in the private practice
of law for over 20 years, specializing in litigation, municipal finance, labor law,
education and administrative law, arbitration and contract negotiations. He represented
the New Haven Board of Education as its principal lawyer in all matters related to labor
relations and education law for approximately 20 years.
On October 3, 2019, the New Haven Bar Association awarded Justice Harper with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
On May 16, 2019, Justice Harper was presented with the Greater New Haven NAACP Legend Award at its 102nd Annual Freedom Fund Dinner.
On December 31, 2018, the New Haven Register named Justice Harper as the New Haven Register's
2018 Person of the Year. On October 19, 2018, The New Haven Probate Court presented Justice Harper
with the Outstanding Service to the Greater New Haven Community Award. On May 25, 2017 the University
of New Haven celebrated the establishment of the Justice Lubbie Harper, Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund,
a fund designated primarily for inner city students from New Haven regardless of race or ethnic background.
On April 14, 2016, Justice Harper received the John Eldred Shields Distinguished Professional Service Award
presented by the Connecticut Bar Association. On May 28, 2015, Justice Harper was the recipient of the
Sappern Fellowship Award presented by the Yale Sappern Memorial Fund. On May 14, 2015, the George W. Crawford
Black Bar Association presented Justice Harper with its Trailblazer Award. On June 6, 2013, Wilbur
L. Cross High School dedicated and named its Library Media Center in Justice Harper's honor.
On February 27, 2013, Justice Harper was the Community Recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award presented by Eastern Connecticut State University. On
May 12, 2011, the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, Inc. presented its 2011 Edwin Archer
Randolph Diversity Award to Justice Harper. On November 13, 2010, the Prince Hall Scottish
Rite Masons (32nd and 33rd degree) awarded Justice Harper their Silver Eagle Award, the
organizations’ highest award for public service. On November 9, 2010, the New Haven Tap-Off
Club inducted Justice Harper into its Hall of Fame. On November 6, 2009, the Connecticut
State Conference of NAACP Branches named Justice Harper one of the "100 Most Influential
Blacks in Connecticut."
On May 13, 2008, the New Haven Public School Foundation, Inc. presented Justice Harper with its
Annual Alumni Legacy Award. On February 22, 2008, Justice Harper received the Rev. Dr. Edwin R.
Edmonds Humanitarian Award presented by the West Haven Black Coalition. In 2007, Justice Harper
was the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award presented by the Delta Phi Chapter
of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. On May 25, 2006, the Greater New Haven Branch
of the NAACP awarded Justice Harper its Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award. On February
17, 2006, James Hillhouse High School in New Haven named and awarded an annual leadership award
in Justice Harper's honor. Justice Harper was the recipient of the Connecticut Chapter of the
Men and Women for Justice, Inc. Achievement Award on October 29, 2005; the Connecticut Bar
Association's Young Lawyers Section First Annual Diversity Award on October 19, 2005; and the
Bridgeport Bar Association Criminal Law Committee Judicial Integrity Award on June 9, 2005. Justice
Harper was inducted into the Inaugural Class of the Wilbur L. Cross High School Hall of Fame on
March 30, 2005. Justice Harper was also the recipient of the University of New Haven’s Alumni
Association 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award on April 12, 2003.