Justice Samuel Chase Impeached, Acquitted

1804

The Jeffersonian Republicans in the House of Representatives vote to impeach Justice Samuel Chase, a Federalist who had served on the Supreme Court since 1796. He is accused of behaving in an “arbitrary, oppressive, and unjust” manner on the bench. The Senate will conduct a trial in 1805, in which Chase defends himself by declaring that he is being prosecuted for his political convictions rather than for having committed any “high crimes or misdemeanors,” as the Constitution specifies. Six Republicans join with nine Federalist senators to acquit Chase on all counts. He will remain on the Supreme Court until he dies in 1811.