During his campaign for the presidency in 1908, Republican candidate William Howard Taft addressed the Virginia Bar Association on problems facing the courts. He proposed multiple procedural reforms to the court system to address the popular belief that the current administration of justice favored the rich over the poor. These views, he warned, spawned proposals to redistribute private property. "The chief attack is on the institution of private property and is based upon the inequalities in the distribution of wealth and of human happiness that are apparent in our present system." He concluded his address with an appeal to the bar to work to adopt procedural reforms:
"Now our profession is naturally conservative. It is our natural disposition to have things done in an orderly way and to believe that the way in which things have been done should not be departed from until we clearly see an opportunity for improvement. I do not object to this spirit. Especially in this country, I think there will be progressive movements sufficient to prevent such conservatism from being a real obstruction to our general progress. I venture to think, however, that in the matter of procedure and in the adoption of special methods and systems for the settling of classes of controversies, we ought to be careful that this professional conservatism does not keep us, with the power that we necessarily exercise in respect to technical legal legislation, from adopting the reforms which are in the interest of equalizing the administration of justice as far as possible between the rich and the poor."