Clark, Tom C.


1951 TLS as Associate Justice congratulating a friend whose son is to clerk for renowned 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Learned Hand


Autograph ID: 6424
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1899-1977) Texas lawyer, joined Justice Department 1937, civilian coordinator for forced relocation of Japanese-Americans during opening months of WW II. Later headed antitrust and criminal divisions at Justice. Attorney General 1945-49 (Truman), Associate Justice 1949-67. A conservative, he proved a key vote in some Warren Court cases expanding scope of individual rights. He wrote majority opinion in landmark cases Mapp v. Ohio, applying 4th Amendment "exclusionary rule" to the states, and Abington School District v. Schempp, invalidating daily Bible readings in public schools. Truman later came to regret his choice, saying years later that "Tom Clark was my biggest mistake." This stemmed from Clark's vote to strike down as unconstitutional Truman's seizure of the nation's steel mills to avert a strike in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952) after advising Truman as Attorney General that he had legal authority to do so.

TLS on 10 x 8 engraved Court Chambers lette5head, Washington, March 29 1951, to Ben S. Fisher, Esq., Washington. Justice Clark is pleased to learn that "Ben, Jr." has been appointed as law clerk for Judge Learned Hand, "a fine opportunity; none better", and Clark knows he will benefit much from it.

BEN S. FISHER (?) joined the Federal Radio Commission in 1931 and became a prominent Washington communications lawyer, a founder of the firm of Fisher, Wayland, and Southmayd. His son, BEN C. FISHER (d. 2016), was also a prominent communications attorney who clerked for 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Learned Hand 1951-52. (BILLINGS) LEARNED HAND (1872-1961) US judge and judicial philosopher, served on the US District Court for the Southern District of New York 1909-24, and the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit 1924 until semi-retirement in 1951; he was Senior Circuit Judge or Chief Judge 1939-51. Hand decisions soon won him a reputation for craftsmanship and authority and he has been quoted more often by legal scholars and by the US Supreme Court than any other lower-court judge. Scholars have recognized the 2nd Circuit under Hand as one of the finest appeals courts in history. Friends and admirers often lobbied for Hand's promotion to the Supreme Court, but circumstances and his progressive political past conspired against his appointment.”

Type: Letter

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