History of the Federal Judiciary


History of the Federal Judiciary


  Olmstead v. United States: The Constitutional Challenges of Prohibition Enforcement — Historical Background and Documents
Biographies

William Ball Gilbert (1847–1931)
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

William Ball Gilbert was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, into a family that could trace its roots in America to the seventeenth century. His father moved the family to Ohio before the Civil War, and William spent the war years at Williams College, graduating in 1866. His first interests were scientific, but he later turned to law. Gilbert enrolled in the University of Michigan law school, earning a degree in 1872. The next year he moved to Portland, Oregon, and practiced law there until 1892. He also served one term in the Oregon legislature from 1889 to 1891. President Benjamin Harrison nominated him to the newly created U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Gilbert received his commission on March 18, 1892, and served until 1931. In his long judicial career, Gilbert proved to be a hard worker and productive jurist with a real love for the law. For over twenty years he lectured at the University of Oregon Law School. He never fully accepted modern times, refusing to ride in a car, for example. Gilbert wrote for the U.S. court of appeals in a great number of cases, both small and large, including one of the cases that came out of the Teapot Dome scandal.
Judge William Ball Gilbert
Courtesy of Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Library.

 

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