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Thomas L. Ambro

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Title: Thomas L. Ambro  
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Subject: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, List of people from Delaware, Barry G. Silverman, Diana Gribbon Motz, E. Grady Jolly
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Thomas L. Ambro

Thomas Ambro
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Assumed office
February 16, 2000
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Walter Stapleton
Personal details
Born December 1949 (age 65)
Cambridge, Ohio, U.S.
Alma mater Georgetown University
Georgetown University Law Center

Thomas L. Ambro (born December 27, 1949 in Cambridge, Ohio) is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He began his judicial service in 2000.

Education and legal career

Judge Ambro received both his B.A. (1971) and J.D. (1975) from Daniel L. Hermann of the Supreme Court of Delaware. Following his clerkship, he was in private practice in Wilmington, Delaware from 1976–2000 at the law firm of Richards, Layton & Finger. There he was a force behind Delaware's rise as a preferred venue for large Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Immediately prior to being elevated to the bench, he headed the bankruptcy practice at Richards Layton.

Judge Ambro is a past Chair of the Section of Business Law of the [1]

Judicial Service

Ambro was appointed to the Third Circuit by President Bill Clinton on September 29, 1999, to fill a seat vacated by Walter King Stapleton. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 10, 2000, by a 96-2 vote and received his commission on February 16, 2000.

Among Judge Ambro's well-known opinions are:

  • Dwyer v. Cappell, No. 13-3235, 2014 WL 3893001 (3d Cir. Feb. 18, 2014): An attorney challenged New Jersey's Attorney Advertising Guideline 3, which prohibited excerpting judicial opinions in attorney advertisements without displaying the entire opinions. The Court held that Guideline 3, as-applied to the particular attorney, violated the First Amendment.
  • United States v. Gunter, 462 F.3d 247 (3d Cir. 2006) The Court held that district courts were required, under United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), to treat the crack cocaine federal Sentencing Guidelines as advisory, rather than mandatory, and could consider whether the Sentencing Guidelines's differential between crack and cocaine was rational when imposing sentences.
  • In re Owens Corning, 419 F.3d 195 (3d Cir. 2005): The Court set out the circumstances under which a bankruptcy court may substantively consolidate affiliated (but legally separate) entities for purposes of bankruptcy.
  • Forum for Academic & Institutional Rights v. Rumsfeld, 390 F.3d 219 (3d Cir. 2004): FAIR, an association of law schools and law faculty, challenged the Solomon Amendment, which requires the Department of Defense to deny federal funding to institutions of higher education that bar military recruiters. The schools argued that forcing them to allow military recruiters on campus, in violation of their policies against recruitment by employers who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, impeded their First Amendment rights. The Third Circuit entered a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Solomon Amendment. The Supreme Court reversed in FAIR v. Rumsfeld.

His notable dissenting opinions include:

  • Abu-Jamal v. Horn, 520 F.3d 272 (3d Cir. 2008). Mumia Abu-Jamal is an American prisoner convicted for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His original sentence of death was commuted to life imprisonment, but he remains arguably "the world's best known death-row inmate."[2] In this case the Third Circuit considered several issues relating to Abu-Jamal's conviction and sentencing, notably whether the Commonwealth's use of peremptory challenges violated Abu-Jamal's constitutional rights under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). The majority held that Abu-Jamal's Batson claim was barred because he had failed to contemporaneously object to the discriminatory use of peremptory challenges during jury selection. Judge Ambro dissented, disagreeing with the majority's contemporaneous objection rule and arguing that Abu-Jamal had established a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination.
  • In re Philadelphia Newspapers, 599 F.3d 298 (3d Cir. 2010): The majority held that, under the plain meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 1123, a debtor (here the owner of the
    1. ^
    2. ^ Rimer, Sara (December 19, 2001). "Death Sentence Overturned In 1981 Killing of Officer". The New York Times. p. 1.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Walter Stapleton
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
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