Horror on the Orient Express
William Howard Taft
The 27th President of the United States, Currently the 10th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Characteristics and rolls
Sanity Points: 90
Magic Points: 18
Hit Points: 11
Occupation: Chief Justice
Fast Talk: 60%
Credit Rating: 85%
Occupation Skill Points: 460
Interest Skill Points: 170
Default values with the following exception
Drive Automobile: 01%
Drive Horses: 20%
Cane (59%) 1d8dmg 1hnd touch 1att 20hp
.32 Revolver (20%) 1d8 15yds 3att 6/gun 10hp 00mal
William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857-) was the 27th President of the United States and currently serves as the 10th Chief Justice of the United States. He is the only person to have served in both offices.
Born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, into the powerful Taft family, Taft graduated from Yale College Phi Beta Kappa in 1878, and from Cincinnati Law School in 1880. Then he worked in a number of local legal positions until being appointed an Ohio Supreme Court judge in 1887. In 1890, Taft was appointed Solicitor General of the United States and in 1891 a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft Governor-General of the Philippines. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt, then a political ally of Taft, appointed Taft Secretary of War to groom Taft as his successor to the presidency.
Riding a wave of popular support of President (and fellow Republican) Theodore Roosevelt, Taft won an easy victory in his 1908 bid for the presidency.
In his first and only term, President Taft’s domestic agenda emphasized trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the performance of the postal service, and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. Abroad, Taft sought to further the economic development of undeveloped nations in Latin America and Asia through the method he termed “Dollar Diplomacy.” However, Taft often alienated his own key constituencies, and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912.
Upon leaving the White House in 1913, Taft was appointed the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School. Upon his appointment, the Yale Chapter of the Acacia Fraternity made him an honorary member. At the same time, Taft was elected president of the American Bar Association. He spent much of his time writing newspaper articles and books, most notably his series on American legal philosophy. He was a vigorous opponent of prohibition in the United States, predicting the undesirable situation that the Eighteenth Amendment and prohibition would create. He also continued to advocate world peace through international arbitration, urging nations to enter into arbitration treaties with each other and promoting the idea of a League of Nations even before the First World War began.
When World War I did break out in Europe in 1914, however, Taft founded the League to Enforce Peace. He was a co-chairman of the powerful National War Labor Board between 1917 and 1918. Although he continually advocated peace, he strongly favored conscription once the United States entered the War, pleading publicly that the United States not fight a “finicky” war. He feared the war would be long, but was for fighting it out to a finish, given what he viewed as “Germany’s brutality.”
On June 30, 1921, following the death of Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, President Warren G. Harding nominated Taft to take his place, thereby fulfilling Taft’s lifelong ambition to become Chief Justice of the United States. There was little opposition to the nomination, and the Senate approved him 60-4 in a secret session on the day of his nomination, but the roll call of the vote has never been made public. Taft received his commission immediately and readily took up the position. He has considered his time as Chief Justice to be the highest point of his career, having once remarked “I do not remember that I was ever President”.
In 1922, Taft traveled to Great Britain to study the procedural structure of the English courts and to learn how they dropped such a large number of cases quickly. During the trip, King George V and Queen Mary received Taft and his wife as state visitors. It was also during this trip that he became acquainted with one Dr. Julius Smith, and, given their mutual backgrounds as academics, became fast friends.
In 1923, as part of his duties under the auspices of the League to Enforce Peace, Taft has returned to London to attend The Challenger Trust Banquet-Lecture, hoping that perhaps among the luminaries, there may be someone who can provide a means, not of lighting homes or transporting people and goods, but of creating true world peace.
Taft’s most characteristic feature is his large stature, standing at six feet even and, at one point, weighing 340 lbs. As a young man, he was given the nickname “Big Lub” because of his size, though his college friends knew him by the nickname “Old Bill”. Taft has received jibes about his weight throughout his life: as Governor-General of the Philippines, Taft once sent a telegram to Washington, D.C. that read, “Went on a horse ride today; feeling good;” Secretary of War Elihu Root replied, “How’s the horse?” No one has more humor about Taft’s weight than Taft himself. Once, he famously joked that he was the ultimate gentleman because he gave up his seat on a streetcar to three ladies. Within a year of leaving the presidency, Taft lost approximately 80 pounds which he jokes was due to “the weight of the job was finally off his shoulders.” Soon after his weight loss, he had a revival of interest in the outdoors; this led him to explore Alaska. Since 1920, Taft has used a cane which was a gift from Professor of Geology W.S. Foster, and is made of 250,000-year-old wood.