Edward Douglass White

1845- 1921

Chief Justice of Supreme Court



Edward Douglass White was born in the parish of Lafourche, Louisiana. He was studying at Georgetown College when the Civil War broke out, and he then returned home to enlist in the Confederate Army. White was captured with the garrison of Port Hudson. After the war, White studied law in New Orleans and entered the bar there in 1868.

In 1877, he was appointed to the Louisiana Supreme Court and in 1891 he was appointed to the United States Senate. On February 19, 1894, President Cleveland nominated White to the United States Supreme Court.

In his years on the Court White was known for his strong support of states' rights. In 1910, President Taft nominated White to become Chief Justice, the first Associate Justice to be elevated directly to Chief Justice. White's most lasting legacy as Chief Justice was the Court's adoption of "rule of reason" in judging antitrust cases. This rule interpreted the Sherman Anti-trust Law to say that not all monopolies were illegal, only those that acted "unreasonably" to restrain trade.

White refused to resign and died while still serving on the Court in 1921.