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Origins of the Federal Court System

Judicial Review and Judicial Independence

Have any federal judges been impeached?

Yes, several federal judges have been impeached by the House and many of those impeached by the House have been convicted in the Senate. The following federal judges have been impeached. Some resigned after the House voted to impeach, others were acquitted in the Senate and some were convicted by the Senate.

John Pickering (1803): U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire (impeached by House and convicted by the Senate)

Samuel Chase (1804–5): Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (impeached by the House in 1804 and acquitted by the Senate in 1805)

James H. Peck (1830): U.S. District Court for the District of Missouri (impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate)

West H. Humphreys (1862): U.S. District Court for the Middle, Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee (impeached by the House and convicted in the Senate)

Mark H. Delahay (1873): U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas (impeached by the House and resigned before trial in the Senate)

Charles Swayne (1904): U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (impeached by the House and acquitted in the Senate)

Robert W. Archbald (1912): U.S. Commerce Court (impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate)

George W. English (1926): U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois (impeached by the House and resigned from office)

Harold Louderback (1933): U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate)

Halsted L. Ritter (1936): U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate)

Harry E. Claiborne (1986): U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (impeached by the House and convicted in the Senate)

Alcee L. Hastings (1988): U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (impeached by the House and convicted in the Senate)

Walter L. Nixon (1989): U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate)

Only one U.S. Supreme Court justice, Samuel Chase, has ever been impeached by the House of Representatives. The Senate acquitted Chase in March 1803. In 1969, Justice Abe Fortas resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court after facing a threat of impeachment.



Samuel Chase is the only Supreme Court justice to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The Senate, however, acquitted him in March 1803. Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
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