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“Spreading the Wealth”: Justice Tom C. Clark's Wide-ranging Efforts to Open the Doors of the Law Clerk Ranks



Associate Justice Tom C. Clark retired from the Supreme Court at the conclusion of its 1966 term to avoid even the appearance of impropriety when his son, Ramsey, became the U.S. Attorney General. “I believe it would be best for me to retire,” Clark wrote one well-wisher, “Litigants have enough problems without having a father-son psychology to face. And while there is no actual conflict the potential is there and the appearance of justice is as important and effective as the real thing.”1 Clark had served on the Court eighteen years, and he began his retirement with a three-month, state-sponsored goodwill trip around the world, which was cut short when he contracted hepatitis in Thailand.