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Community College of Philadelphia honors Justice Alito for ‘citizenship’

Philly’s 35,000-student community college welcomed a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito enters the Great Hall inside the WinnetCourtesy of Community College of Philadelphia

Community College of Philadelphia presented the Judge Edward R. Becker Citizenship Award to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Thursday.

Alito urged attendees to honor the late Judge Becker, a lifelong Philadelphian, by investing their time in public service.

“Good citizenship is not easy. It requires hard work,” Alito said. “Ed was the hardest worker of all.”

Becker is memorialized in part by “Ed Becker Way” – the 500 block of Chestnut Street between Independence Hall and Liberty Mall, which was barred to pedestrians and vehicles due to security concerns after the 9/11 attacks.

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Becker, a federal judge who died in 2006, had lead the successful effort to reopen the street in 2003.

Alito, a Trenton native and former colleague of Becker’s on the Third Circuit, recalled Becker always using a Rocky Balboa-esque “Yo!” to summon law clerks in court.

Becker was also remembered fondly as a Frankford native who always took the El train to work, even as a Circuit Court judge, and who always read the Philly Daily News "because he didn't want to be cut off from the perspective of the loyal readers of that tabloid," Alito said.

“A lot of people take Community College for granted,” said student Indiana Crousett, 24, who attended the ceremony. “It’s a pleasure and an honor to have a Supreme Court justice here.”