The Legacy of Justice Clark

September 30, 2021

“A community is only as strong as the justice it can provide to its most vulnerable citizens,” is something Justice Cornelia A. Clark often said. She didn’t just say it, she wholeheartedly believed it.

Justice Clark walked the walk and talked the talk, speaking frequently to civic and leadership groups about the importance of the rule of law, and of an independent, accountable judiciary in protecting the constitutional rights accorded all persons and groups.         

She turned to her teaching roots to instruct fellow judges at the National Judicial College, American Academy of Judicial Education, and the American Institute for Justice, in addition to being a frequent guest speaker at various bar and other organizations.

One of her greatest gifts was her desire to help those who couldn’t help themselves. Justice Clark believed working pro bono cases was the duty of every attorney. She served as the Supreme Court’s liaison to the Access to Justice Commission, helping the commission reach its goal of 50% of Tennessee attorneys providing pro bono legal services.

To help, to teach, to better the communities she served. Justice Clark was a fierce proponent of liberty and justice for all. That is her legacy.