Joining the Court: Pierce Butler



In a four-year span beginning in the summer of 1921, five new members took their seats on the Supreme Court, and three of those men—the middle three—arrived on the Bench within four months of each other. The first of the five was William Howard Taft, who, upon the death of Edward Douglass White, was named Chief Justice of the United States by President Warren G. Harding. Minnesota corporate lawyer Pierce Butler wrote Taft a genial letter, extending his congratulations and best wishes. “I felicitate you because it is an honor to any man to be chosen to that, the most exalted position in the world, and because no one who is qualified to discharge the duties of the office can fail to rejoice in attaining it. But the country is to be congratulated much more than you are.”1