Senate Confirms Holly Thomas To The Ninth Circuit

Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 20, 2022 – Today the Senate voted to confirm Holly Thomas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Thomas becomes only the second Black woman to serve on this court, and the first Black woman from California.  

Prior to her confirmation, Judge Thomas served on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, where she has presided over hundreds of cases that have gone to verdict or judgment, in addition to overseeing thousands of other hearings. This year, she also served as a judge pro tem on the California Second District Court of Appeal. Prior to serving as a judge, Judge Thomas served as a civil rights attorney, a prosecutor, a litigator, a criminal law attorney, a civil law attorney, a state law practitioner, and a federal law practitioner. 

Judge Thomas’s commitment to equal justice is unparalleled. Over the course of her legal career, she has advocated on behalf of the right to vote; the right to marry; equal employment, housing, and educational opportunities; and protections for pregnant people and service members. For example, at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, she successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate the case of Peggy Young, who was fired from her job at UPS after requesting accommodations for her pregnancy. Thomas also represented the U.S. in a suit against North Carolina’s restrictive voting rights law, successfully leading the Fourth Circuit to enjoin the law’s provisions banning same-day voter registration and other restrictions. 

Judge Thomas is the fourth of President Biden’s nominees confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, following the confirmations of Lucy Koh and Jennifer Sung in mid-December and Gabriel Sanchez earlier this month. 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement: 

“To put it simply, our justice system would look very different if it were full of judges like Holly Thomas. Judge Thomas has spent her entire career advocating for the law to protect those who need its protection the most. She was a preeminent civil rights lawyer, and she will serve admirably on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. AFJ could not be happier — and it brings me special joy that Judge Thomas will succeed one of the true giants of the federal judiciary, William Fletcher. This is a big step toward creating a justice system that sees and respects all of us. 

“President Biden and Senate Democrats have now confirmed four incredible judges to the Ninth Circuit who will protect the rights of millions of people for generations to come. We are excited to see the continued momentum for confirming judges in 2022 and look forward to seeing every remaining vacancy filled this year.”