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Book Chapter

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Department 1

Political Science


William Howard Taft was both our twenty-seventh president and the tenth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court -- the only person to have ever held both high positions in our country. He once famously commented that "presidents may come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever" (Pringle 1998). His remark reminds us that presidents serve only four-year terms (and are now limited to two of them), but justices of the Supreme court are appointed for life and leave a legacy of precedent-setting cases after departing the High Court. Of course, presidents also leave a legacy of important decisions, not the least of which being their appointment of federal judges. [excerpt]




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Chapter 21 of The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior, edited by Lee Epstein and Stefanie A. Lindquist.