William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 - March 8, 1930)

William Howard TaftWilliam Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the 10th Chief Justice of the United States.

On June 30, 1921, following the death of Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, President Warren G. Harding nominated Taft to take his place, thereby fulfilling Taft's lifelong ambition to become Chief Justice of the United States. There was little opposition to the nomination, and the Senate approved him 60-4 in a secret session on the day of his nomination, but the roll call of the vote has never been made public. Taft received his commission immediately and readily took up the position, serving until 1930. As such, he became the only President to serve as Chief Justice, and thus is also the only former President to swear in subsequent Presidents, giving the oath of office to both Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929).

Taft remains the only person to have led both the Executive and Judicial branches of the United States government. He considered his time as Chief Justice to be the highest point of his career; allegedly, he once remarked "I do not remember that I was ever President".

In 1922, Taft traveled to Great Britain to study the procedural structure of the English courts and to learn how they dropped such a large number of cases quickly. During the trip, King George V and Queen Mary received Taft and his wife as state visitors.

With what he had learned in England, Taft advocated passage of the Judiciary Act of 1925 (often called the "Judges Bill"), which shifts the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction to be exercisable principally on review upon litigants' petitioning to be granted an appeal. The Court then has the power to accept or deny an appeal. Thereby, the Supreme Court is empowered to give preference to cases of national importance, and it allows the Court to work more efficiently

William Howard Taft Quotes

"Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood."
"Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever."

"Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race."

"No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people."

"I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe."

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