SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University School of Law alumnus Thomas Rice will be sworn in as a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Washington at 5 p.m., Friday, April 27 in the Barbieri Courtroom at the Gonzaga School of Law (721 N. Cincinnati St.). The event is free and open to the public.
President Barack Obama nominated Rice for the position last June. The nomination was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee last October and confirmed March 6 by the U.S. Senate.
Rice earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gonzaga in 1983 before enrolling in Gonzaga Law School as a recipient of a Thomas More scholarship. Gonzaga Law School’s Thomas More scholarship program offers full-ride scholarships to outstanding law school students who intend to pursue careers in public service. Since graduating magna cum laude from Gonzaga Law School in 1986, Rice has served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, first assistant U.S. attorney, chief and deputy chief of the Criminal Division, and a trial attorney for the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition to serving Eastern Washington for decades, Judge Rice has deep connections to Eastern Washington and is a Spokane native. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., called Judge Rice, “one of our rising legal stars.”
Rice will fill a vacancy left by U.S. District Judge Robert H. Whaley, who has assumed senior status. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington saw 1,256 new case filings in fiscal year 2011, and has four permanent judgeships.
For more information, please contact Andrea Parrish at Gonzaga University School of Law at (509) 313-3771 or via e-mail.