|Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court|
From: August 19, 1949 – June 12, 1967
|59th Attorney General of the United States|
From: June 27, 1945 – July 26, 1949
|Successor||J. Howard McGrath|
Tom C. Clark (September 23, 1899 – June 13, 1977) served as the United States Attorney General from 1945 to 1949 and, after appointed by President Harry S. Truman, served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1949 to 1967.
Justice Clark was the only Texan to have ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court, having graduated from the University of Texas in 1922. Clark resigned prematurely from the Court in 1967 when his son Ramsey Clark became Attorney General. As a retired Justice Clark was authorized to preside in eleven U.S. Circuits and in federal district court.
Clark is best known for his coverup of the Amerasia spy case. When foreign service officer John Stewart Service was arrested in 1945 for passing secrets to the pro-Communist magazine Amerasia, presidential assistant Lauchlin Currie went to former FDR chief of staff Thomas Corcoran, who in turn went to Attorney General Tom Clark. Service was not indicted, and Amerasia owner Philip Jaffe, a close associate of CPUSA General Secretary Earl Browder, got off with a small fine. The value to the Soviets of the Amerasia espionage operations, protected by corruption and special favors was grasped only after the decryption of the Venona messages.
Justice Clark voted with the Warren Court on criminal law, writing the majority opinion in the "exclusionary rule" case of Mapp v. Ohio. Justice Clark also wrote the opinion invalidating daily Bible readings in public schools in Abington School District v. Schempp.
President Truman became angry at Justice Clark when he voted against Truman's seizure of the steel mills in Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer, despite Truman's impression that Clark supported as Attorney General the legality of the seizure.