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Joseph McKenna, 1898-1925

JOSEPH McKENNA was born on August 10, 1843, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the mid-1850s, the McKenna family moved to northern California, where McKenna studied law at the Benicia Collegiate Institute. He was graduated in 1865 and admitted to the California bar in 1866. Six months later, McKenna was elected District Attorney for Solano County and served two terms. He practiced law and became increasingly active in politics. In 1875, McKenna was elected to the California House of Representatives and retired after one term and an unsuccessful bid for Speaker of the House. After two unsuccessful attempts, McKenna finally won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1885. He was re-elected three times. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison appointed McKenna to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. McKenna served in that position until he was appointed Attorney General of the United States by President William McKinley in 1897. On January 21, 1898, President McKinley nominated McKenna to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on January 26, 1898. McKenna served on the Supreme Court for twenty-six years and retired on January 5, 1925. He died on November 21, 1926, at the age of eighty-three.

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