Sidney Runyan Thomas was born on August 14, 1953. He was born in Bozeman, Montana. Thomas is a federal judge on The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth District.
In 1975, Thomas received a Bachelors Degree from Montana State University. In 1978, he went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Montana School of Law. In both 1974 and 1976, Thomas was appointed as a student member of the State Board of Regents of Higher Education.
Upon graduation from law school, Thomas entered into private practice at the firm of Moulton, Bellingham, Longo and Mather. The firm was located in Billings, Montana. Thomas specialized in commercial litigation, government, bankruptcy and media law. He became a senior partner in the firm. From 1978 through 1981, Thomas served as the standing bankruptcy trustee for all the bankruptcy cases in the Billings Division of The United States District Court for the District of Montana. From 1982 through 1995, Thomas served as an adjunct instructor in law at Rocky Mountain College.
On July 19, 1995, Thomas was nominated by President Bill Clinton to his current seat on the Ninth Circuit. Thomas was confirmed by the United States Senate in a voice vote on January 2, 1996. The desire of United States Senator, Conrad Burns, to delay both the nomination of Thomas and A. Wallace Tashima until the passage of a bill to split the Ninth Circuit in two, held up Thomas’ nomination. Dorothy Wright Nelson preceded Thomas in the position.
One of the more well -known accomplishments of Judge Thomas, is his authoring the opinion in Nadarajah v Gonzales. This was a civil case in 2006. Judge Thomas is the ‘en banc coordinator’ for his extremely decisive court. His parliamentarian duties can affect the outcome of any case. The Ninth Circuit’s Chief Judge has been overheard to comment that, not a single one of Thomas’ rulings have been challenged. Thomsas is well-known and admired for his straightforward honesty and fairness.
On July 19, 2010 it was reported by the Associated Press that President Obama conducted an interview at the White House for a possible nomination to a vacancy left in the Supreme Court, by Justice, John Paul Stevens upon his retirement. He also had an interview with Vice President Joe Biden.
Thomas is married to Martha Sheeny. She is a United States attorney.