NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark passed away overnight at the age of 71 after a brief battle with cancer.

Clark was first appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005 by Governor Phil Bredesen and was reelected in 2006 and 2014. 

She served as Chief Justice from 2010 to 2012 spanning a total of four decades of service to the judiciary court. 

In a statement released by the Tennessee Courts, Justice Jeff Bivens recalls Clark’s inspiring service and friendship.  

“She was a brilliant and incredibly fair jurist. Her institutional knowledge and expertise cannot be replaced. To me, she also was a trusted friend and colleague both before and since I joined the Court. I will miss her not only in all Court matters but as a dear friend” said Bivens. 

Justice Clark had the longest tenure of Justices currently serving on the Supreme Court. In a statement, they all say she will be remembered for her detailed legal analysis and being an active questioner during oral arguments. 

Governor Bill Lee also offered his condolences in a statement released Friday morning.

“Maria and I are deeply saddened by the news of Justice Connie Clark’s passing. Throughout her five decades of public service, including 16 years on the Tennessee Supreme Court, Justice Clark was a fierce advocate for justice and a trailblazer for women in the legal profession. She also made a profound impact on our state as an active member of her church and the Franklin community. We are praying for the Clark family and join Tennesseans in honoring her incredible life and legacy. Flags across the state will fly at half-staff in Justice Clark’s honor.” 

In total, Justice Clark was on the bench for more than 1,100 Supreme Court cases. 

Justice Clark received many accolades and awards recognizing her service including being inducted into the Nashville YWCA Academy for Women of Achievement in 2010. 

Information on services will be forthcoming.