From Fox News:

The Chase impeachment happened in the wake of the 1800 presidential election when Jeffersonian Republicans swept into power in the presidency and in Congress. This left the judiciary as the last bastion of Federalist power in the government, which became a political target for Jeffersonian Republicans.

“The Chase impeachment does reflect a kind of political push by the Jeffersonian Republicans, by his allies in Congress against the kind of Federalist bastion of power in the Supreme Court,” R Street Institute resident senior fellow for governance James Wallner told Fox News Digital.

A majority of senators voted to convict Chase in his Senate trial the next year. But the body did not reach the two-thirds threshold to convict, owing at least in part to decisions by some senators that a justice shouldn’t be impeached over politics, according to the CRS.

But Wallner said in his reading of the Constitution, there’s nothing that says this Congress can’t impeach someone for politics – and that Democrats could impeach Thomas for alleged political reasons if they want.

“Can you impeach someone… for their relationship to their spouse? For the things that their spouses say and do? I mean, you probably shouldn’t,” Wallner said. “But of course you can.”

Wallner said even if an impeachment never materializes, Democrats may still get what they want – less political involvement from Virginia Thomas, or less Supreme Court involvement with 2020 election cases – just by talking about it.

“Moving forward, even if the Democrats don’t try to mount an impeachment of Clarence Thomas because of what his wife has done, then that doesn’t mean that… the effort or the talk won’t have an impact on either’s behavior,” Wallner said.

One example of the Jeffersonian Republican pressure having an effect on the Supreme Court in Chase’s day, Wallner said, was the famous Marbury v. Madison case.

“[Federalist Chief Justice] John Marshall… one of the problems that he faces is how does he get out of Marbury v. Madison without pissing off Congress and getting impeached himself?” Wallner said.

Marshall’s solution was to rule that William Marbury, appointed by the lame-duck Adams, deserved his judicial commission, which was being withheld by Jefferson’s Secretary of State James Madison. But, Marshall further ruled, the law under which Marbury brought his case to the Supreme Court was unconstitutional and therefore the court could not order the new Jefferson administration to give him his commission.

The long-term effect of the ruling was to enshrine judicial review in the United States’ constitutional structure. But the short-term political fallout, Wallner said, was that Marshall avoided the wrath of the Jeffersonian Republicans.

“I think that… is directly related to and informed by the climate of the era and the effort to impeach Chase and other federal judges,” Wallner said.

As another example of political pressure swaying Supreme Court justices, Wallner pointed to the “Switch in Time that Saved Nine” in the 1930s.

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