A Salute To The Honorable Jeanette Jackson Clark
On the Occasion of Her Investiture As Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Given by President Patricia A. McGuire at the Investiture Ceremony at D.C. Superior Court
On behalf of the students, faculty, trustees, alumnae and family of Trinity College, and especially for the Great Class of 1970, I am pleased to bring greetings and congratulations on the occasion of Jeanette Clark’s investiture as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Judge Clark, you make us proud! Your alma mater honors and cherishes you. Congratulations!
I am also so pleased to note that seated among the judges of the D.C. Superior Court today is another great Trinity Alumna, the Honorable Patricia Broderick, Trinity College Class of 1971, who joined this distinguished bench in 1998. Judge Broderick, we salute you!
When Justice John Marshall wrote in 1803 in Marbury v. Madison that “It is emphatically the province and the duty of the judicial department to say what the law is….the very essence of judicial duty,” little could he have possibly imagined the scene in this courthouse today as we witness the investiture of Jeanette Clark. Marshall’s Constitution recognized and proclaimed the inalienable rights of the euphemistic group termed “all men” by which the writers really meant a very small subset of citizens. Yet, 200 years later Marshall’s Constitution is also, most decidedly, our Constitution, too, thanks to the expansive vision of the role of the judiciary in interpreting this essential document to ensure that it could “endure for all ages to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.”
Jeanette Clark – Judge Clark – now stands here today as the heir and latest exemplar of Marshall’s visionary declaration of judicial duty and the durability of the Constitution expounded correctly through generations of jurisprudence.
Judge Clark, our city, nation and world need your witness to justice and equity, to integrity and fairness, in greater measure than ever before. You have always demonstrated those qualities in your life at Trinity, as a student, alumna, class president and trustee. As you take on your official duties, please know that the family of Trinity College is with you. As you put on your judicial robes each day, we pray that you may carry the spirit and ideals of our alma mater with you. May you have the strength to act, always, with courage and compassion, never wavering in your commitment to uphold the law, never hesitating to temper the flame of righteousness with the comforting virtue of forgiveness when the ends of law may be served compassionately.
May you have the wisdom to see through the confusion and contention of the daily disputes and great adversities of our frail humanity, leading litigants to effective and peaceful solutions to even their most vexatious demands. May your patience be large, no matter how small the complaint! May your passion for justice be rekindled each day, giving hope to those who have known injustice, courage to those who are afraid to stand up, witness to the ultimate truth of human rights and dignity as the bedrock of freedom, indeed, civilization itself.
Judge Clark, you are now the steward of our laws and lives in freedom. Our rights and fortunes are in good hands, and we wish you every blessing as you take on these profound duties. May the glory and triumph of this moment sustain you through the challenges ahead. And may the lessons of wisdom, intellectual rigor, personal integrity and honor that you cultivated in your Trinity days be your stalwart companions along the way in all of the days to come.