Log In

William Homer Thornberry Edit Profile

United States representative , judge , Lawyer , politician , member of the Texas House of Representatives

William Homer Thornberry, federal judge. Bar: Texas. Recipient Distinguished Alumnus award, University Texas, 1965, Silver Beaver award, Boy Scouts American. Member city council City of Austin, Texas, 1946—1948; Member of American Bar Association, Travis County Bar Association, Texas State Bar Association, Order of Coif, Kiwanis, Shriners, Masons (32d degree).


Thornberry, William Homer was born on January 9, 1909. Son of William Moore and Mary Lillian (Jones) Thornberry.


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.


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. 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.

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 However, once Fortas withdrew his nomination in October 1968, Thornberry's nomination became moot and was withdrawn by the White House without a vote.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.


  • Bar: Texas.


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. 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.


Married Eloise Engle, February 24, 1945 (deceased April 27, 1989). Children: Molly, David, Kate. Married Marian Harris, February 24, 1990.

William Moore Thornberry

Mary Lillian (Jones) Thornberry

Eloise Engle

Marian Harris

Molly Thornberry

David Thornberry

Kate Thornberry