William Homer Thornberry (January 9, 1909 – December 12, 1995) was a United States Representative from the 10th congressional district of Texas from 1949 to 1963, and was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and previously was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.
|Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
December 21, 1978 – December 12, 1995
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
July 1, 1965 – December 21, 1978
|Appointed by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Joseph Chappell Hutcheson Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Reynaldo Guerra Garza|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas|
December 17, 1963 – July 2, 1965
|Nominated by||John F. Kennedy|
|Appointed by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||R. Ewing Thomason|
|Succeeded by||Jack Roberts|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 10th district
January 3, 1949 – December 20, 1963
|Preceded by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Succeeded by||J. J. Pickle|
William Homer Thornberry
January 9, 1909
|Died||December 12, 1995 (aged 86)|
|Education||University of Texas at Austin (B.B.A.)|
University of Texas School of Law (LL.B.)
Thornberry was born in Austin, Texas. His parents were teachers in the State School for the Deaf and were themselves deaf. He attended public schools in Austin and graduated from Austin High School in 1927. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1932 from the University of Texas at Austin and his Bachelor of Laws in 1936, from the University of Texas School of Law, where he was a member of the Acacia Fraternity. He was in private practice of law in Austin from 1936 to 1941. He was a Member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1937 to 1941. He was district attorney of Travis County, Texas from 1941 to 1942. He was a United States Navy Lieutenant Commander from 1942 to 1946. He was in private practice of law in Austin from 1946 to 1948. He was a Member of the Austin City Council from 1946 to 1948.
United States RepresentativeEdit
Thornberry was elected in 1948 to the 81st United States Congress as a United States Representative of the 10th congressional district of Texas. In winning the seat, he replaced its former occupant, Lyndon B. Johnson, who had been elected that year for the first time to the United States Senate. Thornberry was a member of the Rules Committee of the United States House of Representatives from January 1955 to his 1963 resignation, when he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the federal bench.
He was one of the majority of the Texan delegation to decline to sign the 1956 Southern Manifesto opposing the desegregation of public schools ordered by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education.
Federal judicial serviceEdit
Thornberry was nominated by President John F. Kennedy on July 9, 1963, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas vacated by Judge R. Ewing Thomason. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 15, 1963, and received his commission from President Lyndon B. Johnson on December 17, 1963. His service was terminated on July 2, 1965, due to elevation to the Fifth Circuit.
Thornberry was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 22, 1965, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated by Judge Joseph Chappell Hutcheson Jr. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 1, 1965, and received his commission the same day. He assumed senior status on December 21, 1978. His service was terminated on December 12, 1995, due to his death.
Aborted Supreme Court nominationEdit
Thornberry was nominated for Abe Fortas' seat on the United States Supreme Court by President Johnson, who nominated Fortas to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice. However, once Fortas withdrew his nomination in October 1968, Thornberry's nomination became moot and was withdrawn by the White House without a vote. Thornberry was the last Supreme Court nominee to have served in Congress.
Thornberry died on December 12, 1995, at his home in Austin and is interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. He was married to the former Eloise Engle (1919–1989), whom he outlived by six years.
- "William Homer Thornberry". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- William Homer Thornberry at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- "William Thornberry". Texas State Cemetery. Retrieved 20 June 2005.
- THOMAS Jr., ROBERT McG. (December 13, 1995). "Homer Thornberry, Appeals Judge, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
- "Thornberry". The Alcalde. LIV (V). Austin, Texas: Ex-Students' Association, University of Texas. January 1996. pp. 11–12. Retrieved 2014-03-26. The University of Texas Alumni Magazine
- Ybarra, Bob (2010). My Demons Were Real: Constitutional Lawyer Joseph Calamia's Journey. Houston, TX: Arte Publico Press. p. 20. ISBN 9781558856974. LCCN 2010033240. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Lyndon B. Johnson
| Member of the United States House of Representatives
from Texas's 12th congressional district
J. J. Pickle
R. Ewing Thomason
| Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
Joseph Chappell Hutcheson Jr.
| Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Reynaldo Guerra Garza