Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/27/14: The Only Impeachment Trial of a Supreme Court Justice

Only one Justice of the Supreme Court has ever faced impeachment: Samuel Chase,  signer of the Declaration of Independence, was appointed by President George Washington and served from 1796 – 1811. In 1805, articles of impeachment were brought against him in a campaign supported by President Thomas Jefferson, who was alarmed at the Supreme Court’s claims to exclusive judicial review. Chase was charged with improper conduct in several trials as well as with inflammatory political comments made to a grand jury. He was acquitted in a precedent that helped cement the existence of an independent judiciary in the U.S.


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