Christine Clark’s family came from all over the country to witness her ceremonial swearing in to the state Supreme Court’s Fourth Judicial District.
Clark, a Schenectady County Family Court judge, took her oath of office on Saturday morning in the GE Theatre at Proctors from Karen K. Peters, the presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Third Judicial Department.
The two women are firsts in their roles, with Clark the first female Democratic candidate elected in the district and Peters the first woman appointed to her post.
Being sworn in by Peters was special for the 45-year-old Clark, who said, “She is someone I have always admired.”
Clark has already been acting as a state Supreme Court judge.
Family members from California, Washington, South Carolina and other parts of the country came to Schenectady for the event. The family gathering had additional meaning, as Clark’s father died a few weeks after Election Day. “We hadn’t been together in a long time,” Clark said.
This ceremony came as a bit of a surprise to most political observers, as the district has a Republican enrollment advantage, and to Clark herself. She was hoping just to be the fourth and final candidate elected this year. Ultimately she finished with the second most votes in the district.
It was a long and hard campaign, which required traveling across all 11 counties in the district.
“I was really surprised I won the Election,” she conceded.
Her term technically starts on Jan. 1, but the courts are closed until Jan. 7, which will be her first day. She will start in her current Family Court office and chambers, with her work consisting of cases from Washington and Schenectady counties. Salaries for the justices will rise to $174,000 annually through the next four years.
This will be Clark’s job for the next 14 years, unless she retires before the end of her first term. “I’m just really happy,” she about her new job.