U.S. Supreme Court History Journal Publishes Article by Tennessee Court of Appeals Law Clerk

July 25, 2016

TennesseeCourt of Appeals Judge John McClarty’s law clerk Stephanie Slater has published an article about Justice Edward T. Sanford’s tenure on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Justice Sanford is the only known Knoxvillian and University of Tennessee graduate to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.The article, which is a chapter excerpted from a book Slater is authoring, was published in the United States Supreme Court Historical Society's Journal of Supreme Court History July issue.

The book, Emerging From Obscurity: Edward Terry Sanford, Tennessean on the United States Supreme Court, will be published by the University of Tennessee Press in the summer of 2017. Slater credits Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee and others with motivating her to write the book.

“Don Ferguson with the Historical Society for the Eastern District of Tennessee encouraged me to write a book. I talked it over with Justice Lee and she challenged me to do it,” Slater said.

Slater said she was inspired by a portrait of Justice Sanford hanging in the courtroom.

 “It amazed me that he was relatively unknown. I started researching him. My materials kept growing.”

Justice Sanford was born in Knoxville and served on the Court from 1923 until his death in 1930. He received multiple degrees from University of Tennessee and Harvard University. Prior to his time on the Court, he was in private practice and was a lecturer at the University of Tennessee College of Law. From 1905-1907, Sanford was an Assistant Attorney General under President Theodore Roosevelt and served as a federal district judge for Tennessee’s Eastern and Middle districts.

As Slater notes in her work, Sanford is best known for Gitlow v. New York, the case credited with initiating the Incorporation Doctrine, making the Bill of Rights (which formerly applied only to the federal government) applicable to the states.

The article is available here, and a blog written about Slater’s piece by SCOTUSblog can be found here. In addition, a companion article, Edward T. Sanford – Knoxville’s Justice, by John M. Scheb II, has been published in the same issue of the Journal.

Slater is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees from UT.

In addition to clerking for Judge McClarty, she has clerked for Justice Sharon Lee, Justice Gary Wade, Judge Charles Susano, the late Judge Houston M. Goddard, and Judge Thomas W. Phillips. She also spent some time in private practice.

Stephanie Slater's article appears in the July issue of the Journal of Supreme Court History.

Justice Edward Terry Sanford