Served a short stint in the military.
Attended law school for a while but didn't graduate. Passed the bar exam and set up a successful law practice practicing consumer law -- defending clients against creditors.
Served in a state legislature, but refused to serve as attorney general and also refused a position on the Supreme Court and a nomination to be Secretary of War.
Ran for House of Representatives and won but served a very short time.
Can you imagine Congress approving this nomination for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? I doubt it. The media would complain about "inexperience." Congress would poke and probe into motivations and declarations made years ago.
But his name was John Marshall and his impact on American constitutional law is peerless. He served for more than 34 years and participated in more than 1000 decisions. He authored over 500 opinions.
Today he is recognized as the single most important figure on constitutional law. Marshall's legacy resounds through the great issues of contemporary America.
Some of the best justices who have served on the Supreme Court were not judges before their appointments. Justice Renquist was one, and there were at least 10 others.
Other Presidents have been allowed to select justices and most have been approved without the kind of childish wrangling we've seen the past few years. It's all political grandstanding for the gullible media. And the nation is denied some exceptional legal minds (and public servants) because of it.
Shamelessly stolen from Sunnye