About Us

NAPCO by-laws: PDF

The National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO) was founded in 1963 as the National Conference of Metropolitan Courts (NCMC) by a small group of urban chief judges and court administrators led by the Hon. Thomas Campbell Clark, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Clark, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, attended the University of Texas School of Law, and practiced law in Dallas until 1937 when he joined the U.S. Department of Justice, rising to head the antitrust and criminal divisions. In 1945, he was appointed Attorney General by President Harry Truman, and then in 1949, Truman appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court. While on the Warren Court, he proved a key vote in many cases expanding the scope of individual rights, including siding with the majority in Brown v. Board of Education. He also became an early advocate of improved judicial administration, supporting various initiatives of the American Bar Association and court reform organizations such as the American Judicature Society, National Center for State Courts, and the Federal Judicial Center.

Justice Clark retired from the Supreme Court on June 12, 1967, to avoid a conflict of interest when his son, Ramsey Clark, was appointed U.S. Attorney General. He was succeeded in his post on the Court by Thurgood Marshall.

President Lyndon Johnson was said to have appointed Ramsey Clark as Attorney General precisely for the reason that it would prompt the resignation of Justice Clark, leaving a vacancy for LBJ to appoint the first African-American Justice.

After his retirement, Justice Clark served as a visiting judge on several U.S. Courts of Appeals, as the first director of the Federal Judicial Center, and as Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Judicature Society (1967-1969). He has been the only Texan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court to date.

The officers and members of the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers, the successor organization to the National Conference of Metropolitan Courts, are honored to have had such a distinguished jurist as Tom C. Clark as a founder. It is a credit to his vision and leadership that NCMC, and now NAPCO, continues as a significant player in the judicial administration arena.