Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 217, page(s) 816-817

JUSTICE T. CLARK HULL

REMARKS BY CHIEF JUSTICE ELLEN A. PETERS ON THE OCCASION OF JUSTICE T. CLARK HULL'S LAST DAY OF HEARING CASES AS A MEMBER OF THE CONNECTICUT SUPREME COURT
February 22, 1991

Before we start hearing the cases on today's court calendar, I want to take note of an event of singular importance to this court. With profound appreciation for his outstanding judicial service, and deep regret at his imminent departure when he celebrates his seventieth birthday this June, I must record that today is the last day on which Justice T. Clark Hull will be sitting to hear cases as a member of this court.

To chronicle Justice Hull's public career is to review a remarkable record of excellence in public service in every branch of state government. Having started out as Senator T. Clark Hull in 1963, he moved on to become Lieutenant Governor Hull in 1971. But the best was yet to come, when, in 1973, eighteen and one-half years ago, Judge T. Clark Hull became "one of ours." Superior Court Judge Hull was appointed to the Appellate Court at the time of its creation, in 1983, and joined this court in 1987. Twenty-eight years of state service is an impressive number but it doesn't begin to convey the vigor and the breadth of Justice Hull's commitment and contributions to the welfare of the people of this state.

Because I know Justice Hull best as a Supreme Court justice, I would like to start out with brief highlights of this aspect of his public life. Whether seeking to protect human rights or to improve the rules of procedure, Justice Hull has worked diligently and effectively, in the service of justice in this state.

During his distinguished tenure on this court, Justice Hull has contributed some eighty-five majority opinions to the development of Connecticut jurisprudence. Let me cite a few. Ever mindful of the importance of the public's right to know, the opinion in Lieberman v. State Board of Labor Relations established that collective bargaining could not legally sanction the destruction of public records. Responding to the tension between employer efficiency and an employee's protection against wrongful discharge, Ford v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Connecticut, Inc., clarified important issues relating to the burden of proof and the right to a trial by jury. On the regulatory front, State v. Leary recently upheld the enforceability of the state's ticket-scalping law against a variety of constitutional challenges. On the criminal front, State v. Weinberg outlined the rules to be followed when the competency of a witness is challenged.

The range of the subject matter addressed in these opinions illustrates Justice Hull's scholarly knowledge of the law. Equally important, however, is the creative and articulate use of the English language that the opinions manifest. Phrases such as "rumor of Mooney's death have been greatly exaggerated," "[w[e have burrowed diligently through a welter of claims..." and "[t]he driver...had consumed twelve bottles of beer and six shots of tequila...before he lurched to his car to drive..." will forever enrich the literature of the law.

Drafting persuasive opinions on the controversial issues that come to this court takes time. In addition to his judicial duties, Justice Hull has, however, willingly lent his services whenever and wherever his special ability with people was needed. He spent countless hours as Chairman of the Commission on Legal Ethics, patiently and thoughtfully conducting public hearings on professional conduct. The seemingly endless time that he expended spearheading this effort helped to develop a committee report that is a blueprint for the new Judicial Council on Legal Ethics and the future creation of an Office of Attorney Ethics in Connecticut.

Knowing Justice Hull means knowing a public servant who not only works hard but pursues each of his assignments with boundless enthusiasm and good will. Although a historian at heart, and ever concerned to relate present events to salient landmarks of the past, he has an activist's faith in the perfectibility of the future. The breadth of his voracious reading, in his solitary study, is matched only by the depth of his irrepressible need to shake every hand on every public street.

Justice Hull, I salute you for your salient achievements and for being a model of high aspirations that all judges can profitability emulate. As your fellows on the bench, we have benefited from your wise counsel, your compassionate concern for others, and your devoted dedication to making ours a just and caring legal system. We will miss your probing questions at oral argument, your thoughtful comments in the conference room and your warm personal friendship. Concluding remarks at your 1987 swearing in, you voiced the hope that you could make a meaningful contribution as a justice of this court. Rest assured; you have certainly done so. We will be a different court without you.

In closing, I speak on behalf of every member of the judiciary in thanking you, Justice Hull, for your many years of faithful service in the past and in extending to you our best wishes for good health and much happiness for the future. We are fortunate that, starting in June, you will continue in still another aspect of the judicial role, as a state trial referee, to serve the cause of justice in Connecticut for many years to come. Whatever the future may bring, I am confident that you will not retire from public service.

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