Homer Thornberry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named William Thornberry, see William Thornberry (disambiguation).
Homer Thornberry
Homer Thornberry.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 10th district
In office
January 3, 1949 – December 20, 1963
Preceded by Lyndon B. Johnson
Succeeded by J. J. Pickle
Personal details
Born (1909-01-09)January 9, 1909
Austin, Texas
Died December 12, 1995(1995-12-12) (aged 86)
Austin, Texas
Political party Democratic

William Homer Thornberry (January 9, 1909 – December 12, 1995) was a United States Representative from the 10th congressional district of Texas from 1948 to 1963, and then was a federal judge.


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, graduating from Austin High School in 1927. He received a BBA in 1932, and his law degree in 1936 from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Acacia Fraternity.

Thornberry served as a Member of the Texas Legislature, a District Attorney in Travis County, Texas, a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy during World War II and a member of the Austin City Council.

He was elected in 1948 to the 81st Session of the United States Congress as Representative of the 10th Congressional District of Texas. In winning the seat, he replaced its former occupant, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had been elected that year for the first time to the United States Senate. Congressman Thornberry was a member of the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives from January, 1955, until his resignation in 1963, when he was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. He was then appointed and commissioned by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a United States Circuit Judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1965, where he participated in decisions including many civil rights cases of the 1960s and 1970s.

Homer Thornberry grave marker at Texas State Cemetery in his native Austin, Texas

Thornberry was nominated for Abe Fortas' seat on the Supreme Court by Lyndon B. Johnson when Johnson 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 However, once Fortas withdrew his nomination in October 1968, Thornberry's nomination became moot and was withdrawn by the White House without a vote.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 the United States Congress.

Judge Thornberry died at his home 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.


External links[edit]

Homer Thornberry at Find a Grave

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member, Texas House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by
District Attorney, Travis County, Texas
Succeeded by
Preceded by
City Councilman, Austin, Texas
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 10th congressional district

January 3, 1949 – December 20, 1963
Succeeded by
J. J. Pickle (D)
Preceded by
R. Ewing Thomason
Judge United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
December 21, 1963–1965
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Judge United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
July 3, 1965–1978
Succeeded by