Summary

Birth:
03 Nov 1845 1
Thibodeauxville, Louisiana, 1
Death:
19 May 1921 1
Washington, D.C., 1
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Full Name:
Edward Douglass White 1
Birth:
03 Nov 1845 1
Thibodeauxville, Louisiana, 1
Death:
19 May 1921 1
Washington, D.C., 1

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Stories

Edward Douglas White, 1910-1921

EDWARD DOUGLAS WHITE was born in the Parish of Lafourche, Louisiana, on November 3, 1845. While White was studying at Georgetown College (now Georgetown University) the Civil War began and he returned home to join the Confederate Army. He was captured in 1863 by Union troops and remained in captivity until the end of the War. Upon his release in 1865, White read law and attended the University of Louisiana. He was admitted to the bar in 1866 and established a law practice in New Orleans. White was elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 1874, and from 1878 to 1880 he served on the Louisiana Supreme Court. In 1891, the State Legislature elected him to the United States Senate. President Grover Cleveland nominated White to the Supreme Court of the United States on February 19, 1894. The Senate confirmed the appointment the same day. White had served for sixteen years on the Court when, on December 12, 1910, President William H. Taft nominated him Chief Justice of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment the same day. White was the first Associate Justice to be appointed Chief Justice. White served on the Court for a total of twenty-six years, ten of them as Chief Justice. He died on May 19, 1921, at the age of seventy-five.

Biography 

Edward D. White was the son of a slaveholding suger planter; he was born and raised in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. White traveled north to college and enrolled briefly in Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland and in Georgetown College (now Georgetown University) in Washington DC. But White's education was cut short by the Civil War. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861. Two years later, he was captured and held as a prisoner of war until the end of the conflict.

Following the war, White read law in New Orleans and then was admitted to the bar. He established a successful practice and then entered politics. He was elected as a Democrat to the state senate. In 1878, at the tender age of 33, he was appointed to the Louisiana Supreme Court; he was later removed from the court when he could not meet a new minimum age requirement enacted after his appointment became effective. Ten years later, he returned to politics when the state legislature elected him to represent Louisiana in the U.S. Senate.

White's appointment to the Supreme Court was a surprise. President Cleveland had twice sought to appoint New Yorkers to replace Blatchford, who had died; but the New York senators were Cleveland's foes and they exercised senatorial courtesy to scotch the appointments. Cleveland found a lead-pipe cinch in White since senators would never disapprove of one of their own.

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