After graduating from Yale Law School, Thomas began his law career as an assistant attorney general and tax specialist from 1974 to 1977 for John C. Danforth, attorney general of Missouri. He practiced corporate law with the Monsanto Company and then returned to public service in 1979 as a legislative assistant for energy, public works, and environmental policy for Danforth, who was then a senator. President Reagan appointed Thomas to the Department of Education as assistant secretary for civil rights and later to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as chairman. President Bush appointed him to the D.C. Court of Appeals and, in 1991, to the Supreme Court.
SmithKline Beecham, one of the world’s leading health care companies, established the Boyer Award in 1977 in memory of Francis Boyer, a former chief executive of SmithKline and a distinguished business leader. The recipient of the Boyer Award is selected annually by AEI’s Council of Academic Advisers, a group of distinguished outside scholars that reviews the research agendas and appointments of AEI. The award recognizes individuals who have made exceptional practical or scholarly contributions to improved government policy and social welfare. Past recipients of the Boyer Award include Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan, and most recently Christopher DeMuth.