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Samuel Howard Sloan (born September 7, 1944) is an American perennial candidate and former broker-dealer. In 1978, he was the last non-lawyer to argue a case pro se before the United States Supreme Court. The court eventually prohibited non-lawyers from arguing cases before them in 2013.
In 2006, Sloan served on the executive board of the United States Chess Federation. He has run unsuccessfully or attempted to run for several political offices, including President of the United States.
Early life and education
Sloan was born in Richmond, Virginia and graduated high school in 1962. He studied at University of California, Berkeley, where he became president of the Sexual Freedom League branch before dropping out.
Sloan studied chess from the age of 7 years old. In 1959, he was the youngest competitor in the National Capital Open Chess Tournament in Washington, D.C. United States Chess Federation's database reports that he has played in 152 chess tournaments since 1991 and that his highest FIDE rating was 2107 in 1997. When he was young, he attended a series of lectures by Bobby Fischer at the Marshall Chess Club.
Starting in 1968, Sloan worked for two years in the over-the-counter trading department at the Wall Street investment banking firm Hayden, Stone & Co. In 1970, he established Samuel H. Sloan & Company, a registered broker-dealer primarily trading over-the-counter stocks and bonds. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought civil actions against Sloan & Co. starting in 1971, alleging he had failed to maintain adequate books and records, and revoked his broker-dealer registration in 1975. After years of litigation, he prevailed in a case against the SEC at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978, arguing his case pro se. He submitted a 175-page brief that the New Republic described as a "singularly absurd and complicated document" with "far too many obfuscations and legal shenanigans". The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the "tacking" of 10-day summary suspension orders for an indefinite period was an abuse of the SEC's authority and a deprivation of due process. Sloan is the last non-lawyer to argue before the court, which prohibited that practice in 2013.
In the 1980s, Sloan assumed control of Ishi Press, a digital and print-on-demand publishing company. He has published several non-fiction works, including The Slave Children of Thomas Jefferson, Mafia Moll: The Judith Exner Story, and instructional and analytic pieces for chess and other games. He has also published several blog posts to his personal website.
He spent four years in the United Arab Emirates writing a chess column while he was running a computer store. In July 2006, Sloan was elected to the Executive Board of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) for a one-year term after finishing second place (the first-place finisher received a three-year term). In 2007, he ran for reelection to the board but was unsuccessful, finishing ninth out of 10 candidates. He subsequently sued two officers of the board.
Sloan ran for the Libertarian nomination for governor of New York in 2010, facing off against attorney Warren Redlich and former madam Kristin M. Davis. By his own admission, he was not popular in the party and did not expect to win. He eventually lost the nomination to Redlich in a two-way battle, 27 votes to 17, after Davis refused to show up at the convention.
In June 2014, Sloan ran for the Democratic nomination for New York's 15th congressional district against incumbent José E. Serrano. Serrano won, 91% to 9%. Later that summer, he attempted to submit petitions for the 2014 gubernatorial election, one for the Democratic primary (with Nenad Bach as his running mate) and another an "ambush" of the Libertarian Party line similar to the one he attempted in 2010 (with Tom Stevens as the running mate). Both petitions were ruled invalid.
He unsuccessfully attempted to gain the nomination for US president in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries. In 2016, he was also a candidate in the Democratic primary for US Congress in the New York's 13th congressional district. He received 197 votes in the June 28 primary (0.46%), placing 8th out of nine candidates. Adriano Espaillat won.
Sloan unsuccessfully attempted to run for president again in 2020 as a Democrat. He later ran in the Democratic primary for the New York's 14th US congressional district, one of several challengers to incumbent first-term Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but lost with 2.9% of the vote.
Sloan has married five women. In 1976, he converted to Islam and changed his name to Mohammad Ismail Sloan, although he continued to also use the name Sam Sloan. In 1986, he was accused of kidnapping his daughter by the couple who had adopted her. He was convicted of attempted kidnapping in 1992 and served 18 months in a Virginia prison.
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