Hon. Myron Thompson

Posted: August 8, 2010 in Hon. Myron Thompson, People
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Judge Thompson was born 1947 in Tuskegee, Alabama. After graduating from Yale University in 1969 and Yale Law School in 1972, Myron Thompson became Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama, and then entered the private practice of law. In 1980, at age 33, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to succeed the legendary Judge Frank Johnson, Jr. on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, becoming the youngest federal judge to be appointed to the federal bench. Having presided over some of the most important cases in the court’s recent history, including Paradise v. Prescott — which had its origins in Judge Frank Johnson’s decision in Paradise v. Allen — Judge Thompson is a student of the role of the court, and the responsibility of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. In recent testimony on the subject of prison reform, he explained: “…If you seek an approach that will prevent constitutional violations, you must look not to the judiciary but rather to the executive and legislative branches of government, for the latter are the ones that have the authority to set up, or create groups, agencies and institutions to provide such broad, preventative oversight; only they can step in beforehand and actually prevent constitutional violations.” Courts, he emphasized, can only enforce the Constitution against violations of its guarantees and entitlements. To make true social progress, the executive and legislative branches have the power, not just to set minimum standards, but to create social institutions which exceed Constitutional minimums. In 2004, Judge Thompson was selected to give the Dean’s lecture at Yale Law School.


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