Clarence C. Newcomer, 82, a U.S. district judge who sat on the federal bench for more than three decades, died Aug. 22 at his home in Stone Harbor, N.J. He had melanoma.
President Richard M. Nixon appointed Judge Newcomer to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1971.
Among his noteworthy cases was a 1997 ruling that states cannot pay new residents lower welfare benefits than longtime residents; a 1993 ruling that a law firm violated the civil rights of a female associate denied promotion to partner; and a 1980 case that ended a baseball-card trading monopoly.
He criticized Philadelphia police in 1985 for their roundup of Spanish-speaking residents after the death of an officer, calling the conduct "disgraceful."
In April, Judge Newcomer presided over a civil trial in which a jury awarded $12.83 million to residents displaced when the Philadelphia police bombed a home occupied by the radical group MOVE in 1985.
Clarence Charles Newcomer was a native of Mount Joy, Pa., a 1944 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and a 1948 graduate of the Dickinson School of Law. He practiced in the Lancaster, Pa., area and later was an assistant prosecutor there, becoming the county's district attorney in 1968.
During World War II, Judge Newcomer served in the Navy as an executive officer on an amphibious landing craft in the Pacific. He later took a job as defense counsel at the Philadelphia naval base. He said his inexperience didn't matter because the head of the court martial board found everyone guilty.
"I like to think that this experience helped me to better understand the real meaning of the term 'justice,' " he wrote in a memoir about his wartime service.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Jane Martin Newcomer; two daughters; a sister; and four grandchildren.