- Clark, Tom Campbell
- (1899-1977)Born in Dallas, Texas, Tom Clark briefly served in the Texas National Guard in 1918 before attending the University of Texas. He graduated from law school in 1922 and practiced law in Dallas until 1927, when he became the city’s district attorney. In 1937, he joined the U.S. Department of Justice, where he held various posts, including handling the legal aspects of the relocation of Japanese Americans in 1941. In 1943, he became assistant to Attorney General Francis Biddle, and in 1945 he himself was appointed attorney general by President Harry S. Truman. As attorney general, Clark was active in civil rights, providing amicus curiae briefs in Shelley v Kraemer and supporting the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of lynchings. Clark also presented 160 antitrust suits. He offended liberals by drawing up a list of dangerous organizations, mostly left-wing, and approving the use of wiretaps and the prosecution of members of the Communist Party of the United States of America. Despite some opposition, he was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice in 1949 following Frank Murphy’s death. In his new role, he earned Truman’s ire by voting to declare the president’s seizure of the steel mills unconstitutional in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer in 1952, having previously advised the president that such action was legal.Clark took a generally conservative position in the court and supported anticommunist measures, but he also was an advocate of civil rights and voted with the majority to declare school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954. He also wrote the majority decision against daily school Bible readings. He resigned in 1967 when his son, Ramsey Clark, was appointed attorney general by Lyndon Johnson.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.