Samuel follow signed the statements of Independence and also was appointed to the supreme Court by George Washington. He’s also the only justice come ever confront impeachment.

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When it concerns American politics, couple of topics have actually been together widely debated in the past couple of years together impeachment. The impeachment process in the joined States starts with dues brought against a publicly office holder; in ~ the commonwealth level, charges increase from the house of Representatives and move to a trial in the Senate. To date, 3 presidents have been impeached by the House: Andrew Johnson (1868), bill Clinton (1998), and also Donald trumped (2019); eventually, all three were acquitted through the Senate. However, impeachment proceedings no exclusively restricted to the president. In fact, a can be fried Court justice was as soon as impeached by the House. He was Samuel Chase, a signer the statements of Independence, and one that the primary advocates because that his removal to be a other signatory, a man named thomas Jefferson.

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Chase was born in Maryland in 1741. He grew up to study law and also began to exercise in Annapolis about 1761. In 1762, the married ann Baldwin; throughout that same year, an Annapolis conflict group dubbed the Forensic club kicked him the end for what it called “extremely irregular and indecent behavior” (this turned out to be together a result of insulting colleagues through “impious language”). Samuel and Anne Chase had seven children prior to her death in 1776; chase would later marry Hannah Kitty in 1784 and also have two an ext children.

The lawyer’s shift to public office started in 1764, once he was elected to the Maryland general Assembly. By 1766, he to be openly feuding with neighborhood loyalists to the british Crown. He protest the stamp Act and co-founded a neighborhood branch the the sons of Liberty v his girlfriend William Paca. Shortly after, he and also Paca ended up being delegates come the continent Congress. In 1776, both guys signed the statements of Independence. Chase got wrapped up in a scandal in 1778 together party to an effort to edge the flour market with insider congressional information; Maryland did no send him back to the Congress as a result. After ~ the Revolutionary War, Chase settled in Baltimore. He to be appointed come the district Criminal Court in Baltimore, and later moved up to the role of cook Justice that the Maryland general Court. In 1796, chairman George Washington appointed follow to the United claims Supreme Court together an associate justice; he was nine nominee to the bench.

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale (Wikimedia Commons; publicly Domain)

A few years later, 3rd president cutting board Jefferson felt that the courts had end up being too powerful, and worked come limit their authority. Targeting Federalist opponents, Jefferson’s allies in congress took procedures to remove details judges from their posts. Chase made himself an ext visible in Jefferson’s sights by publicly disagreeing with him on cases; the president also felt that follow was failing at impartiality, acting more like a prosecutor than as a judge (particularly in the situation of thomas Cooper, who had been jailed under the Alien and Sedition Acts for an write-up he composed attacking man Adams). Chase likewise spoke out around people who he personal thought have to be charged. This to be too much for Jefferson, that felt the Chase had veered out of his lane and also into unconstitutional behavior.

John Randolph, a Congressman from Virginia, instigated impeachment in the house of Representatives. By 1803, Congress offered the Justice v eight articles of impeachment that covered everything from libel to ill temper. The residence voted on march 12, 1804, and Chase to be impeached by a count of 73-32. Randolph led the trial in the Senate, which started on February 9, 1805. However, that soon came to be clear the the accumulated charges to be all related to situations that Chase operated on in lower courts; at the time Supreme Court judge still presided in circuit courts, as well. The Senate voted come acquit him on in march 1, 1805.

Following the trial in the Senate, Chase continued to be in the can be fried Court until his death in 1811. The fallout from the instance turned the end to be positive, as it established how impeachment proceedings commenced, collection a precedent that the judiciary must not be partisan, and suggested boundaries that prevent judges indigenous acting prefer prosecutors. The also set informal boundaries on the rationale of impeaching a judge, an ext or less suggesting that there requirements to be some kind of honest or legal breach on behalf of the referee in bespeak to lug charges.

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Chase cut an exciting figure in history. By pushing the limits of his position, he helped specify how succeeding generations view and establish those boundaries. His situation also collection a criterion that make the efforts to get rid of the bringing of impeachment in a strict partisan manner, forcing the representatives connected to produce much more concrete charges. Chase continues to be the only Supreme Court justice to face the proceeding to date.