SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

William Howard Taft, 1921-1930

Chief Justice William Howard Taft, 1921-1930
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 15, 1857. He was graduated from Yale University in 1878 and from Cincinnati Law School in 1880. Taft began his career in private practice in Cincinnati. After serving as an assistant prosecutor and a Judge of the Ohio Superior Court, he was appointed Solicitor General of the United States in 1890. From 1892 to 1900, Taft served as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1901, he was named Civilian Governor of the Philippines. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Taft Secretary of War. Taft was elected President of the United States in 1908 and served one term. After leaving the White House, Taft taught constitutional law at Yale University and appeared frequently on the lecture circuit. From 1918 to 1919, he served as Joint Chairman of the War Labor Board. President Warren G. Harding nominated Taft Chief Justice of the United States on June 30, 1921. The senate confirmed the appointment the same day, making Taft the only person in history to have been both President and Chief Justice. As Chief Justice he focused on the administration of justice and at his request Congress created the Conference of Senior Circuit (Chief) Judges to oversee court administration. This body became the Judicial Conference of the United States. Taft retired from the Court on February 3, 1930, after serving eight years as Chief Justice. He died on March 8, 1930, at the age of seventy-two.