A room on the second floor of the historic Franklin Courthouse will now be named after the late Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia “Connie” A. Clark.
The county commission approved a resolution authorizing the renaming of the historic hall inside the public plaza site in his honor on Monday. Clark died in September at the age of 71.
Commissioner Judy Herbert called Clark a “brilliant woman”.
“We are honored to be able to do this,” she said at Monday’s meeting. “She’s accomplished so much of what she’s done with nothing but hard work and I admire her so much.”
Clark served Tennessee for more than 32 years as the first female judge of the 21st Judicial District Circuit Court, Director of Courts Administrative Offices, and then a Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.
Appointed in 2005, she had the longest term of her fellow judges at the time of her death. She ultimately became the second woman in the state’s history to serve as chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, a position she held from 2010 to 2012.
She was also the first woman to serve rural Tennessee counties, according to her obituary.
Prior to being appointed a circuit court judge, she practiced law in Williamson County and was involved in several nonprofit and civic organizations, according to the county.
“Judge Clark had a well-known reputation for honesty, integrity, impartiality and fairness,” said the resolution. “(She) was a role model for girls and women, as well as boys and men in Williamson County, Tennessee, as well as throughout Tennessee and the country.”
Clark was born in Franklin and has lived her entire adult life in the city, where 10 generations of her family have also resided.
His nephew Brad Perry addressed the commission at its meeting on Monday.
âShe had the incredible ability to connect with all kinds of people,â he said. âI think that’s what made her life great.
“I think it’s quite rare to act so quickly to honor someone like that, and I think it’s certainly a testament to their lifeâ¦ Our family is truly blessed that you are doing this for our aunt.”
Clark attended Franklin Public Schools and graduated from high school in Atlanta before attending Vanderbilt University for his BA and later Harvard University for his MA in Education. She taught for four years before attending law school at Vanderbilt University and embarking on her legal career.
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