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Thomas Morrow Reavley (b. 1921)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1968-1977

Thomas Morrow Reavley was born June 21, 1921 in Quitman, Texas. He earned a B.A. from The University of Texas in 1942. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War from 1942 to 1946. Following the war he entered Harvard Law School, earning a J.D. in 1948.

Reavley served as an assistant district attorney in Dallas from 1948 to 1949, and then went into private practice in Nacogdoches from 1949 to 1951. In 1951 he served as the county attorney for Nacogdoches County before returning to private practice in Lufkin from 1951 to 1952 and Jasper from 1952 to 1955. In 1955 he became Texas secretary of state, serving until 1957. He then went into private practice in Austin from 1957 to 1964. He was a judge for the 167th Judicial District in Austin from 1964 to 1968.

In October 1968 Reavley was appointed an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court by Gov. John Connally when James R. Norvell retired. He was subsequently elected to the position the following month and reelected in 1974. He resigned his seat on the bench in 1977 to return to private practice.

Reavley has written numerous published works and served as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law from 1958-1959, 1978-1979, and 1986-1997. He has also lectured at the law schools of Baylor, Pepperdine, and Texas Tech and has served on many boards and organizations. In 1978 Reavley was appointed a special judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In 1979 President Jimmy Carter nominated Reavley to a newly created judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He served in the position for a number of years, assuming senior status in 1990. Reavley married Fifth Circuit chief judge Carolyn Dineen King in 2004; they became the first married couple ever to serve together on a federal appellate court. They live in Houston.


Hon. Thomas M. Reavley. FindLaw (last updated November 3, 2005).

Reavley, Thomas Morrow. Judges of the United States Courts (accessed October 17, 2006).

Thomas Morrow Reavley. Texas State Cemetery (accessed October 17, 2006).

Extended bibliography

Greenhill, Joe R. Mr. Justice Thomas M. Reavley - A Tribute, 30 Baylor Law Review 1.

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 14, page 110
Volume 16, page 22
Volume 18, page 630
Volume 19, page 518, 581
Volume 23, page 372
Volume 30, page 333
Volume 31, page 813, 899, 901
Volume 34, page 664
Volume 35, page 433, 1017
Volume 36, page 1140
Volume 39, page 389
Volume 40, page 807, 1020
Volume 41, page 933

Reavley Named to Fill Vacancy, Austin American, Aug. 15, 1968.

Reavley to Replace Norvell, San Antonio Express, Aug. 15, 1968.

Reavley to Serve on Supreme Court, Dallas Morning News, Aug. 15, 1968.

Morehead, Richard M. Texas High Court Swears in Reavley, Dallas Morning News, Oct. 11, 1968.

Reavley Assumes Post as Justice, Austin American, Oct. 11, 1968.

Ford, Jon. Reavley Resigns State Supreme Court, Austin American-Statesman, Aug. 13, 1977.

State Justice Says He'll Quit High Court, Houston Post, Aug. 13, 1977.

Texas High Court Judge Announces Resignation, Dallas Morning News, Aug. 13, 1977.

Irving, Rebecca. Former Justice Having Time of His Life, Austin Citizen, Feb. 17, 1978.