Judge Sidney Thomas recently became the Chief Judge of the influential Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
As posted earlier on this blog, Judge Thomas was on President Obama’s shortlist in 2010 for an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately went to Justice Elena Kagan. Notably, Judge Thomas received his law degree from The University of Montana School of Law and maintains his chambers in Billings, Montana. Judge Thomas is not the first Montanan to become Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit. Previous Montana Judges who served as Chief Judge include Judge James R. Browning, of Belt, from 1976 to 1988; and Judge Walter Lyndon Pope, of Missoula, for one year in 1959.