President William Howard Taft, our 27th President, never gets a fair shake in history, due to the misfortune of being in office between two charismatic Presidents,Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and facing both in the Presidential Election of 1912, and ending up third, the only time a major party Presidential candidate ended up other than first or second in an election.
Taft may have had the worst re-election defeat in American history, winning only two states and 8 electoral votes in 1912, but despite that, Taft goes down in history as, in many ways, the most influential President on the matter of the Supreme Court, other than Franklin D. Roosevelt.
How is that, one might ask?
Well, Taft set a record of making the most appointments in one term ever in American history, as SIX vacancies opened up on the Court, including Chief Justice Edward Douglass White and Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes having the most impact. Also, strong conservative Willis Van Devanter served 26 years on the Court, working against FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s.
Only George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt surpassed him in appointments, and Andrew Jackson matched him.
Since Taft served as Chief Justice by appointment of President Warren G. Harding after 1921 until 1930, he both picked his predecessor, and was followed as Chief Justice by Hughes, who was appointed by President Herbert Hoover as his replacement, with Hughes having resigned from the Court to run against Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
Additionally, Taft was the Chief Justice who did the lobbying that led to plans for a separate Supreme Court Building, although he died in 1930, never seeing the Court building completed and opened in 1935.
So William Howard Taft had a vast impact on the history of the Supreme Court!