Harold H. Greene

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Harold Herman Greene
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
In office
May 19, 1978 – August 6, 1995
Appointed by Jimmy Carter
Preceded by John J. Sirica
Succeeded by Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
Personal details
Born (1923-02-06)February 6, 1923
Frankfurt, Germany
Died January 29, 2000(2000-01-29) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C.
Alma mater George Washington University
George Washington University Law School

Harold Herman Greene (born Heinz Grünhaus, February 6, 1923 – January 29, 2000) was a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Greene was born Heinz Grünhaus in Frankfurt, Germany. When he was 20 years old, his family fled the Nazi regime to Belgium, Vichy France, Portugal, and finally the United States in 1943, during World War II. Greene enlisted in the United States Army and interrogated German prisoners for military intelligence.[1][2] He received his BA in 1949 from George Washington University and law degree in 1952 from George Washington University Law School. From 1952 to 1953, Greene clerked for Bennett Champ Clark, a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Next, Greene was assistant United States attorney for Washington, D.C. until 1957 and chief of appeals research for the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division from 1957 to 1965.[2] At the Justice Department, Greene helped create the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.[3] Greene was a judge for D.C. regional courts: judge for the Court of General Sessions from 1956 to 1966, chief judge for that court until 1971, and chief judge for the D.C. Superior Court from 1971 to 1978.[4]

Federal judge[edit]


President Jimmy Carter appointed Greene to a seat vacated by John J. Sirica; the United States Senate confirmed Greene on May 17, 1978, and Greene was commissioned on May 19, 1978.[4]

Notable cases[edit]

Judge Greene presided over United States v. AT&T, the antitrust suit that broke up the AT&T vertical market monopoly on the telecommunications industry in the United States.[5] The case, one of Greene's first after being named to the bench, resulted in the 1982 consent decree between AT&T and the Federal Trade Commission. The consent decree, later amended and usually called the modified final judgment (MFJ), provided for the Bell System divestiture, AT&T's spin off of the seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). The conclusion of the case freed AT&T to enter the computer industry, from which it had previously been barred.

Greene presided over the 1990 trial of Admiral Poindexter. This was the first time that any former president (Reagan) testified about his own conduct in office in connection with a criminal trial.

In 1990, Greene sentenced the 1983 United States Senate bombing suspects, Laura Whitehorn and Linda Evans, to prison.[6] Greene assumed senior status on August 6, 1995.


Greene died from a cerebral hemorrhage on January 29, 2000 and was undergoing brain operations at the time. He had a wife, Evelyn, and two children: son Dr. Michael D. Greene and daughter Stephanie Cavagrotti.[7] After his death, the George Washington University Law School created the Harold H. Greene Professor of Law endowed chair in his memory. The chair was established by an endowment gift of $1.5 million from telecommunications entrepreneurs David and Maria Wiegand of Orange County, California, owners of Pathfinder Communications at the time.


  1. ^ "Four Who Also Shaped Events", Time, 123 (1), January 2, 1984 
  2. ^ a b Weil, Martin (January 30, 2000). "Harold Greene, AT&T Case Judge, Dies". The Washington Post. pp. A1. 
  3. ^ "Harold Herman Greene". The Washington Post. February 3, 2000. p. A22. 
  4. ^ a b "Greene, Harold H.". Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ Stoffels, Bob (2000). "Harold H. Greene (1923-2000)". OSP. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Radical Gets 20-Year Term in 1983 Bombing of U.S. Capitol". Associated Press. December 8, 1990. Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  7. ^ Hershey, Robert D., Jr. (January 30, 2000). "Harold H. Greene, Judge Who Oversaw the Breakup of the AT&T Colossus, Dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Sirica
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Succeeded by
Colleen Kollar-Kotelly