Taft, William Howard (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
William Howard Taft is the only person to serve as both president and Supreme Court chief justice of the United States. A gifted judge and administrator, Taft helped modernize the way the U.S. Supreme Court conducted its business and was the driving force behind the construction of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Taft was born on September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father, ALPHONSO TAFT, served as secretary of war and attorney general in President Ulysses S. Grant's administration. Taft graduated from Yale University in 1878 and earned a law degree from Cincinnati Law College (now University of Cincinnati College of Law) in 1880. He established a law practice in Cincinnati and served as assistant prosecuting attorney for Hamilton County, Ohio, from 1881 to 1883. Taft was assistant county solicitor from 1885 to 1887 and a superior court judge from 1887 to 1890.
Though only thirty-three years old, Taft lobbied President BENJAMIN HARRISON for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in 1890. Although Harrison demurred, he did make Taft U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL, the person who argues on behalf of the federal government before the Supreme Court. Taft won sixteen of the eighteen cases he argued before 1892, when Harrison appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
(The entire section is 984 words.)
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