First Texan on U.S. Supreme Court dies in New York City
On this day in 1977, Thomas Campbell Clark, the first Texan to serve on the United States Supreme Court, died in New York City. Clark, born in Dallas in 1899, joined the Roosevelt administration in 1937 as an assistant to the United States attorney general. During World War II he coordinated and directed the relocation and incarceration of American citizens of Japanese ancestry, which he later recalled as one of his biggest mistakes. Clark became attorney general to President Truman in 1945. In 1949 he was appointed to the Supreme Court. In Sweatt v. Painter (1950) Clark's support of the majority opinion, which ordered the integration of the University of Texas law school, was particularly important. He also wrote the opinion in Terry v. Adams (1953), which struck down the white primary in Texas. Clark retired from the bench in 1967 when his son, William Ramsey Clark, was appointed attorney general.