Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark Dies After Battle with Cancer


Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark passed away on Thursday after a short battle with cancer. She was 71.

According to the Tennessee State Courts, Justice Clark was first appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005 by Governor Phil Bredesen and was reelected in 2006 and 2014. She served as chief justice from 2010 to 2012.

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

When Governor Ned McWherter appointed Justice Clark to the trial bench covering the 21st Judicial District of Williamson, Hickman, Perry and Lewis counties in 1989, she became the first woman trial judge to serve rural counties in Tennessee. She paved the way for fellow judges to be accepted by clerks, litigants, lawyers, and other judges.

Governor Bill Lee mourned the loss of Judge Clark, writing in a tweet, “Maria & I are deeply saddened by the news of Justice Connie Clark’s passing. Throughout her five decades of public service, including 16 years on the Tennessee Supreme Court, Justice Clark was a fierce advocate for justice & a trailblazer for women in the legal profession.”

Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) also released statements after hearing of Judge Clark’s passing.

In her statement, Senator Blackburn said, “Justice Connie Clark devoted her life to serving Tennesseans, and it is with a heavy heart that we mourn her passing. Justice Clark was a trailblazer in Tennessee’s legal community and has left a lasting impact on our state. Please join me in praying for her family during this difficult time.”

On Twitter, Senator Hagerty wrote, “Chrissy & I are very saddened to hear of Justice Clark’s passing. There’s no doubt she was a true champion for justice & had a deep & fervent impact on our state throughout her 5 decades of honorable service. Join us in reflecting on her legacy & praying for the Clark family.”

On Thursday, Lee announced that all flags across the state will fly at half-staff in Justice Clark’s honor.

Justice Clark had the longest tenure of the justices currently serving on the Supreme Court. She was well-known for the precise and detailed legal analysis and writing style, as well as being an active and thoughtful questioner during oral arguments. In total, she was on the bench for more than 1,100 Supreme Court cases.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Background Photo “Tennessee State Supreme Court” by Jon698. CC BY-SA 4.0.








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One Thought to “Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark Dies After Battle with Cancer”

  1. Horatio Bunce

    “She was well-known for the precise and detailed legal analysis…”

    And yet, accepted an unconstitutional and completely illegal “appointment” as a supreme court judge.