1 page, 4to, personal stationery." />
2 November 2006
TAFT, William H. Autograph letter signed ("Wm. H. Taft"), as former President, to John Temple Graves, Montreal, Canada, 7 June 1921. 1 page, 4to, personal stationery.
"THE ISSUE IS IN THE LAPS OF THE GODS"
Taft nervously awaits word of his nomination to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. "I thank you for your interest," he tells Georgia newspaperman Graves, "and for your writing the President. Whatever happens, it is pleasant to learn that the suggestion has the popular approval. The issue is in the laps of the Gods. It will not be decided I think until late in the summer or early fall. The court adjourned yesterday until October. I expect to be with you until the end in the Lincoln Memorial, deo volente [God willing]." Taft is doing a poor job of hiding his intense longing to get the nod. It was not in the "laps of the Gods" but in the fleshy hands of Warren G. Harding. The joke betrays his exalted hopes. For Taft, going to the Supreme Court was going to heaven. To be Chief Justice was bliss itself, far more rewarding that being elected President. He seems to further dampen his own hopes by not expecting the decision until the fall, and by reaffirming his commitment as chair of the Lincoln Memorial Commission. But God Harding made his mind up that same month, and on 30 June he nominated Taft to lead the court. The Senate quickly confirmed, and Taft took over the high court that October.
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