A classmate of Woodrow Wilson at Princeton, Mahlon Pitney served in Republican political office in Congress and in New Jersey. Though he aspired to be governor, he was appointed to the state's highest court ending his electoral ambitions. He served on that court for 20 years, eventually to become its chancellor. He was the last of President William Howard Taft's appointments to the Court. Taft himself was later appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court on which Pitney still served and criticized him as a weak member.