Lubbie Harper Jr.
The Honorable Lubbie Harper Jr. ’67 MSW, ’75 JD is a retired judge and public servant and the third African American to serve as a Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. While serving temporarily on the court in 2008, Justice Harper cast the deciding vote in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health. The ruling legalized same-sex marriage in Connecticut.
Born and raised in New Haven, Harper became the first in his family to go to college. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from UConn in 1967 and a JD from the UConn School of Law in 1975. A judge since 1997, he has been entrusted with judicial office by a Democratic and two Republican governors. His deciding vote in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health made Connecticut the second state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage permanently.
Justice Harper joined the Connecticut Supreme Court full time in 2011 and retired the following year. He continues to chair the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System. The New Haven Register named him Person of the Year in 2018, and he accepted the Public Service Award from the UConn School of Law Alumni Association in 2022.
By Michael Rodriguez
Photo by Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media