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Tennesview Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark, whose public company to the judiciary and her neighborhood extended over four years, passed away overnight, at the age of 71 after a brief fight via cancer. Justice Clark was first appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005 by Governor Phil Bredesen and was rechosen in 2006 and 2014. She served as Chief Justice from 2010 to 2012.

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“Justice Clark was a member of the Tennescheck out judicial family for over 30 years and has mentored thousands of judges,” said Chief Justice Roger A. Page. “She loved the Tennescheck out judicial mechanism and has made it much better in immeasurable means. As her colleague for the past five and one-fifty percent years, I observed her remarkable work-related ethic. Her keen mind was exceeded just by her sort and also caring heart. She truly tried her ideal to decide each situation based upon the applicable law and also nopoint else. The Supreme Court will certainly not be the very same without her.”

Prior to joining the Court, she was the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts from 1999 to 2005.

“Justice Clark and I served together on the Supreme Court for thirteenager years. We shared many kind of experiences as colleagues and also as friends,” Justice Sharon G. Lee shelp. “Our friendship strengthened over the years as we confronted difficulties together—such as the contested retention election in 2014—and also via our laughter and also great times once we joined with fellow women judges at our ‘Tenneswatch Chicks Rule’ dinners, and once we traveled to Cuba to examine their judicial system. I observed first-hand also Justice Clark’s tireless dedication to her confidence, her family members, her friends, the judiciary, and access to justice for all. She confronted eincredibly challenge and obstacle with grace, difficult job-related, and also humility.”

When Governor Ned McWherter appointed Justice Clark to the trial bench spanning the 2first Judicial District of Williamkid, Hickguy, Perry and Lewis counties in 1989, she came to be the first woguy trial judge to serve rural counties in Tennescheck out. She paved the means for fellow judges to be embraced by clerks, litigants, lawyers, and other judges.

“Connie Clark’s company to the civilization of the State of Tennessee at all levels was motivating and also second to none. Her commitment to public organization was ungone beyond,” shelp Justice Jeff Bivins. “She was a brilliant and also incredibly fair jurist. Her institutional understanding and also specialization cannot be reput. To me, she likewise was a trusted friend and also colleague both prior to and also given that I joined the Court. I will certainly so miss out on her not only in all Court matters yet as a dear frifinish.”

Justice Clark had actually the longest tenure of the Justices presently serving on the Supreme Court. She was renowned for specific and also thorough legal evaluation and also composing style, and also being an energetic and thoughtful questioner in the time of oral debates. In total, she was on the bench for more than 1,100 Supreme Court cases.

"Justice Connie Clark had a pitch-perfect judicial temperament. Almethods calm, measured, exact, and also even-handed in her method to the Court’s decisions,” sassist Justice Holly Kirby. “In the crucial situations the Court takes on, she always strove to put aside any type of political considerations or personal judgment on the wisdom of actions of the other two branches of government. I’ll never obtain Justice Clark’s level of judicial perfection, however she inspires me eextremely day to attempt."

Justice Clark’s scope of work, however, got to much beyond the Supreme Court. She was associated in nearly eincredibly regime and project in the court mechanism, including the Access to Justice initiative, as well as a being a fixture in bar, community, and also religious organizations in Middle Tenneswatch and nationally for even more than 40 years.

An Early Advocate For Women In The Legal Profession

After graduating from Vanderbilt University and also earning a grasp of arts in teaching from Harvard University, Justice Clark taught background for 4 years in the Atlanta location. She went on to study law at Vanderbilt College Law School, where she was a member of the Law Recheck out Editorial Board.

Upon graduation in 1979, Justice Clark practiced law in Nashville and also Franklin, coming to be, in 1984, one of the initially woman partners in a huge Nashville regulation firm. She specialized in municipal and employment regulation, and represented many cities, police departments, and also several institution boards.

She joined legal organizations that advocated the advancement of womales in leadership roles, consisting of the Lawyers’ Association for Womales, Marion Griffin Chapter, and the Tennessee Lawyer’s Association for Woguys. She likewise chaired the Board of Directors of the Nashville YWCA and offered on the Board of the League of Woguys Voters of Williamboy County. Throughout the 1980s, Justice Clark sustained and also advocated for even more women to be appointed and also elected to the bench. By 1989, it was her rotate to slip right into the babsence robe and join the growing ranks of female jurists across the state and also country.

“I heard Justice Clark tell a story about just how, early in her career as a trial judge in a rural county, she encountered a woman that was angry at being called for jury business and also was rude and also disrespectful. Judge Clark excprovided the womale from jury duty, however ordered her to sit and observe the court proceedings for the day,” sassist Margaret Behm, a companion at Dodchild Parker Behm & Caparella, and also a long-time frifinish and also colleague of Justice Clark. “The following morning, Judge Clark was surprised to view the woman via her daughter in her courtroom. The woman told Judge Clark: ‘I wanted my daughter to be able to watch that tbelow is a woguy that deserve to be in charge of this, because I desire her to recognize that she have the right to be anypoint she desires to be.’ Justice Clark tells this story as an example of exactly how you never understand once you have the opportunity to touch someone’s life. But, it is additionally an example of what it was prefer to be approximately Connie Clark, and the result she had as a jurist, through her prevalent sense, humility, intellect, and capacity to connect.”

In 2005, Justice Clark ended up being the fourth woman to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court, and in 2010 she became the second female Chief Justice. Due to the fact that 2008, tbelow has been a female majority on the Tenneswatch Supreme Court. With more than 16 years of service, Justice Clark had actually the second longest tenure of any kind of woman serving on the Supreme Court. Perhaps even more remarkable, she made a details suggest to ensure the doors opened for her earlier by others proceed to widen and also be accessible to judicial candidays from all backgrounds, genders, and races.

A Statewide and also National Leader and Teacher

Justice Clark chaired the Tenneswatch Judicial Council and was the inaugural chair of the Judicial Evaluation Commission. She previously offered as a member of the Board of Directors of the Conference of State Court Administrators. In 2004, she was named among the 21 members of the ABA Commission on the American Jury, which is dedicated to educating the public around, and reinvigorating the nation"s commitment to, jury business.

Forever a teacher, she instructed fellow judges at the National Judicial College, American Academy of Judicial Education, and the American Institute for Justice, in enhancement to being a constant guest speaker at various bar and also various other establishments. Justice Clark offered for ten years as an adjunct professor at the Vanderbilt College School of Law and also served on the faculty of the Nashville School of Law. As a trial judge, Justice Clark served as Vice-President of the Tenneswatch Judicial Conference and also Dean of the Tennesview Judicial Academy, and also was a member of the Supreme Court Comgoals on the Rules of Civil Procedure and Technology.

She spoke frequently to public and also leadership teams around the prestige of the preeminence of law and of an independent, accountable judiciary in protecting the constitutional civil liberties accorded all persons and teams.

Ensuring Access to Justice for All Tennesseans

Justice Clark offered as the Supreme Court’s liaichild to the Access to Justice Commission, from 2014 until her fatality. Throughout her time on the Court, the Supreme Court asserted Access to Justice to be its number one strategic priority. Justice Clark whole-heartedly adopted this initiative.

Justice Clark travelled the state and also about the country speaking to attorneys, judges, and various other interested teams around the prestige of judicial support for such tasks. She pioneered the successful Faith and also Justice Alliance, which brings attorneys into community faith-based and various other civic establishments, where clients might feel more comfortable around sharing their problems than in a traditional courthouse or legislation firm establishing. Today, hundreds of Tennesview homes of worship administer thousands of hours of pro bono legal business to even more than 7,000 people a year.

“Justice Clark"s lengthy and unwavering support as liaison to the Tennescheck out Supreme Court"s Access to Justice Commission was the foundation to Tennescheck out being known as a nationwide leader in access to justice initiatives,” sassist Bill Coley, chair of the ATJ Commission. “Her commitment to this work-related was a motivation to all, including me, who have joined in this initiative. We are committed to continuing this occupational in a method that honors Justice Clark.”

The ATJ Commission freshly accomplished its permanent goal of having at least half of all Tennessee attorneys provide pro bono legal services yearly. In 2018, 52.85 percent of Tennesview attorneys performed over 640,000 pro bono hrs valued at even more than $137 million. In enhancement, the ATJ Commission occurred court-apconfirmed develops to assist litigants that are representing themselves, consisting of divorce creates and also parenting arrangement creates. These develops have actually been downloaded thousands of thousands of times considering that their development.

A Lifelengthy Active Member of the Faith Community

Justice Clark was a lifelengthy active member of First United Methodist Church in Franklin, wbelow she offered as lay leader and member of the finance committee, the Trustees, and also the staff parish relations committee. She previously served as chair of the Site Selection and Building Committee during the church’s relocate to its present area in 2015. She served for the last ten years as an at‑huge member to the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She was chosen in 2012, 2016, 2019, and 2020 as a Tennescheck out Conference lay delegate to General Conference, the Church’s worldwide legislative body that meets once every four years. She chaired the General Administration Committee in 2016. She also served as Chair of the UMC Southeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals.

Justice Clark served as chair of the United Methodist Publishing Housage Board and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Martin Methodist Foundation. She previously offered as vice chair of the Board of Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenneswatch, till it became U.T. Southern, as part of the College of Tennessee mechanism, on July 1, 2021.

A Fixture In Tennesview Bar And Community Organizations

Justice Clark always was a busy perchild. Her document of bar and also neighborhood business is expansive and includes institutions extending from those concentrated on her beloved hometown of Franklin, wright here her family members has actually lived for ten generations, to many type of bar associations. She is a past Board member of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamchild County. She was co-chair of the original Steering Committee of Franklin Tomorrow, Inc., and served on its Board of Directors for the initially four years of its existence. She served as chair of the City of Franklin Land Use Plan Steering Committee and as citizen chair of the City of Franklin Charter Revision Committee. She is a former member of the Williamchild County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She served as the initially local Alplaces Panel chair of the United Way while serving as a member of the Williamson County United Way Board of Directors.

“Justice Clark embopassed away the heart and also spirit of the Franklin neighborhood,” sassist long-time frifinish and colleague Julian Bibb. “Justice Clark remained in love through Franklin every one of her life, helping to overview its advance and growth, first in her duty as City Attorney in the time of the 1980s, and also then by taking on volunteer positions via many kind of civic and also charitable organizations, including via her church, Franklin First United Methodist Church. Justice Clark was a servant leader that continually gave earlier to help enhance the resides of others in Franklin. From establishments prefer The Heritage Foundation of Williamchild County to institutions that assisted carry the neighborhood together, like Franklin Tomorrow, Justice Clark has long been known for her many contributions to her hometown.”

Justice Clark was a member of the Williamson County Bar Association, Tennescheck out Bar Association, Amerihave the right to Bar Association, Tenneswatch Lawyers Association for Woguys (beginning member), Lawyers Association for Woguys, Marion Griffin Chapter (previous board member), Nashville Bar Association (previous board member and 2nd Vice President), National Association of Women Judges, and the Nashville, Tennescheck out, and American Bar Foundations. She was the initially woman to serve as chair of the Tenneswatch Bar Foundation. She also was a member of the Tennescheck out John Marshall Amerihave the right to Inn of Court and the Harry Phillips Amerihave the right to Inn of Court.

In complete, Justice Clark has actually offered on even more than 25 boards and also worked through virtually 75 institutions, comobjectives, advisory teams, or job pressures given that beginning her legal career in 1979.

Recognition For Her Service

Justice Clark has actually obtained many kind of awards recognizing her business to the regulation, including the Janice M. Holder Access to Justice Award from the Tennescheck out Alliance for Legal Services; the Tennessee Bar Association’s Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award; the Vanderbilt College School of Law Distinguished Service Award; the Grayfred Gray Award from the Tenneswatch Association of Professional Mediators; the Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey Award from the Lawyers’ Association for Womales - Marion Griffin Chapter; the Liberty Bell Award given by the Williamchild County Bar Association; and the Pioneer Award from Vision 2020. Clark was additionally called Appellate Judge of the Year by the Southeastern Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and was inducted into the Nashville YWCA Academy for Womales of Achievement.

More Information

The family has actually additionally announced the adhering to arrangements:

Wednesday, September 29. Justice Clark will lie in state in the Old Supreme Court Chambers of the Tennessee State Capitol from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Thursday, September 30. Visitation will certainly be at the First United Methodist Church in Franklin from 2 to 7 p.m.Friday, October 1. Visitation will certainly be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Franklin. The funeral will certainly take area at the church at noon. The funeral is meant to be livestreamed from the church’s website. The burial will certainly be personal.

In enhancement, the Nashville Supreme Court Building courtroom will reprimary draped in mourning throughout the month of October. Attorneys and also others might pay their respects throughout consistent company hours and sign the book of remembrances that has actually been put in the courtroom. Please check out the Court"s letter regarding the October mourning period.

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Remembrances & Condolences

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