Charles Edward Clark

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Charles Edward Clark (December 9, 1889 – December 13, 1963) was a United States federal judge, sitting on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1939 to 1963.

Born in Woodbridge, Connecticut, Clark received a B.A. from Yale College in 1911 and an LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1913. He was in private practice in New Haven, Connecticut from 1913 to 1919, and served as a member of the Connecticut General Assembly from 1917 to 1918. He was a professor of law at Yale Law School from 1919 to 1929, and was then a Sterling professor of law and Dean of Yale Law School from 1929 to 1939. He also served as a deputy judge for the Hamden Town Court in Hamden, Connecticut from 1927 to 1931. He was a special assistant U.S. attorney general of Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice in 1938. He was a Visiting lecturer in law, Yale University from 1951 to 1963.

On January 5, 1939, Clark was nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to a new seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit created by 52 Stat. 584. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 7, 1939, and received his commission on March 9, 1939. Clark served on the Second Circuit until his death in 1963, in Hamden, Connecticut. This included service as Chief Judge from 1954 to 1959. The Second Circuit during Clark's tenure was widely considered one of the best appellate courts in the country, including Judges Learned Hand, Augustus Hand and Jerome Frank.

Before taking the bench, Clark served as chief drafter of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which were adopted in 1938. During his years as a judge, Clark often was regarded as an expert on the Rules but sometimes quarrelled with the other judges on his court (most especially Jerome Frank), both behind the scenes and in his opinions, on the disposition of procedural issues. Clark also continued to teach as a visiting lecturer in law at Yale University, from 1951 to 1963.

Clark's extensive papers are archived at Yale University and open to researchers.


Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Maynard Hutchins
Dean of Yale Law School
1929 – 1939
Succeeded by
Ashbel Green Gulliver