Justice Tommy Elias Bryan was raised on a family farm in Crenshaw County, Alabama, where his parents taught him the values of faith, family, and hard work. He is the son of the late Margie Spivey Bryan and the late Elias Daniel Bryan.
A 1974 graduate of Brantley High School, Justice Bryan continued his education at Troy State University, where he received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in education. In 1983, he graduated from the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. After graduating from law school, Justice Bryan served as a staff attorney for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
In 1987, Justice Bryan became an assistant attorney general for the State of Alabama, serving as an associate general counsel for Alabama's environmental department. In that position he gained valuable experience in defending and interpreting highly technical and scientific regulations and standards, as well as drafting administrative orders and reviewing legislation pertaining to environmental issues.
In 2004, Justice Bryan ran for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and, after winning every county in the state during the Republican primary election, he went on to win the general election after challenging an incumbent judge. He was sworn into office as a Judge on the Court of Civil Appeals in January 2005. He was reelected in November 2010. In 2012, during his tenure on the Court of Civil Appeals, Justice Bryan was named "Judge of the Year" by the Family Law Section of the Alabama State Bar. Also in 2012, Justice Bryan was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court and was sworn into office as an Associate Justice in January 2013. He was reelected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2018 without opposition.
Justice Bryan is a member of the Alabama Bar Association, where he served as a member of the Environmental Law and Appellate Practice Sections and he served as vice chairman of the Quality of Life Committee. Justice Bryan previously served on the Supreme Court of Alabama's standing committees for the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. He also served as a member of the Supreme Court of Alabama's Dispute Resolution Commission. He is also a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association. He has been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the District of Columbia.
Justice Bryan is married to the former Pamela Mizzell from Tuscaloosa, and they have two children, a daughter, Thomason, and a son, Tucker. The Bryan family lives in Montgomery, where they attend Montgomery's First Baptist Church. Justice Bryan is a Deacon there and is a member of the sanctuary choir. He also teaches an adult Sunday School class.