Riding the Circuits,
Someone’s got to ride herd on the lawyers.
Tom C. Clark, 1972
A newspaper article written in 1973 captures in colorful terms Tom Clark’s remarkable work schedule: “When he is not sitting on assignment as a Federal Court of Appeals justice or District Court judge in one part of the country or another, he is making speeches, participating in study groups and committees, or writing articles. His calendar is as cluttered as a Manhattan subway car; he is as much in demand as the most fetching co-ed on campus. The white-haired, bowtied gentleman from Texas is level-headed, unpretentious and downright witty. He’s sort of a judicial Will Rogers.”1
The range of my father’s activities was truly staggering. Among his papers I found a list of sixteen committees he served on in 1970, and he was chairman of at least two of them. The committees were for groups that included, among others, the Boy Scouts of America, the National Park Foundation, the Federal Bar Association (Ethics Committee), the American Bar Association (Special Committee on Evaluation of Disciplinary Enforcement), and the Presidential Commission for Human Rights (Committee of Lawyers). In addition, in 1970 he became the first president of the American Academy of Judicial Education, a position he held for several years. Along with these numerous activities, in 1970, less than a year after he resigned as director of the Federal Judicial Center, he launched a new career as a trial judge. He would continue to serve as a trial judge for the remainder of his life—the only justice to sit on federal courts in all of the country’s eleven circuits.