A few of Mr. Clark’s associates mentioned he may very well be pedantic. As a supervisor, he made no effort to cover when he had little respect for his profession subordinates’ opinions.
He isn’t recognized for being understated on the subject of himself. The place the standard biography on the Justice Division web site runs just a few paragraphs, Mr. Clark’s contains the elementary faculty he attended in Philadelphia, a subject he debated in faculty and that he labored for his faculty newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.
After graduating from Harvard in 1989, Mr. Clark earned a grasp’s diploma in city affairs and public coverage from the Biden Faculty of Public Coverage on the College of Delaware in 1993 and a legislation diploma from Georgetown College in 1995. He clerked for an appeals courtroom choose, Danny Boggs, who was recognized for giving potential clerks quizzes that examined not simply their information of the legislation, but additionally a variety of esoteric trivia.
Mr. Clark then labored for Kirkland & Ellis from 1996 to 2001, adopted by a stint within the Justice Division’s environmental and pure assets division in the course of the Bush administration, earlier than returning to Kirkland in 2005 as a associate, however not one with an fairness stake within the agency, in line with an individual who labored carefully with him on the legislation agency.He held the title of “non-equity associate,” which meant that he didn’t share within the agency’s earnings or make management choices.
When Mr. Clark returned to the Justice Division as the pinnacle of the environmental division in 2018, he flew underneath the radar. Like different Republican officers, he narrowly interpreted the division’s authorized authority and had a sometimes tense relationship with profession attorneys when it got here to imposing anti-pollution legal guidelines.
In a single occasion, Mr. Clark held up Clear Water Act enforcement instances due to a pending matter earlier than the Supreme Court docket that profession attorneys felt didn’t instantly relate to their work, in line with a lawyer with information of these instances. The Supreme Court docket was listening to a matter that concerned discharges that flowed by groundwater earlier than reaching waters regulated by the federal authorities, and the division was engaged on a case that concerned flows over land.
His staff believed that Mr. Clark hoped the courtroom would curtail the legislation’s attain in a method that might apply to overland spills, too, however by a 6-to-3 ruling, it didn’t.