Levi Woodbury came from old New England stock. He graduated Dartmouth College and briefly attended law school in Litchfield, Connecticut. He abandoned law school for private study in an apprenticeship. However, his formal studies made Woodbury the first Supreme Court justice to have attended law school.
Woodbury served New Hampshire in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. He also served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Andew Jackson during Jackson's crusade against the Bank of the United States.
While on the Court, Woodbury sought the 1848 presidential nomination. He was a candidate again for the 1852 election but he died early in the selection process.