Alumnus Nominated to Federal District Court

WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 30, 2012)—Judge William Thomas, a 1991 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) who has dedicated his entire professional career to public service, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to fill a vacancy in the federal court for the southern district of Florida.

Thomas, a dual political science and sociology major at W&J, graduated from Temple University School of Law in 1994 and has been a member of the Florida Bar Association since 1995. He was elected to a six-year term as a Miami-Dade (Fla.) Circuit Court Judge in 2005 at the age of 35. He was re-elected in 2011.

“My directional heading on the bench is dictated by three basic themes: empathy for those who appear before me, fidelity to the rule of law, and humility befitting the position of judge,” Thomas said. “This is an incredible opportunity for me and my immediate family and I am honored.”

Thomas was raised on welfare by a single mother as the ninth of ten children, living in the housing projects in southwestern Pennsylvania, not far from W&J.

“The struggles and the sacrifices my family endured remain an integral part of who I am. I will never forget my roots,” Thomas said. “In spite of our difficult financial situation, my mother emphasized the importance of education.  My mother once told me that good things happen to those who sacrifice or wait patiently. Instead of engaging in the dangerous activities that poverty and misfortune often bring, I was extremely motivated to pursue my studies. I wanted to make my life better and to have a good quality of life in the future.”

When he arrived at W&J, Thomas said he had a single suitcase and less than $20 in his pocket.

“These experiences shaped me. They enable me to appreciate life’s complexities and they remind me how fortunate I am to occupy the role of judge,” Thomas added. 

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