Impeachment of Judges and Trials of Politicians:
 A Narrative of American Legal History - In Two Parts
Leon Shelef*

This article  examines  a number of legal struggles in the early stages of the United States  - focusing on the unsuccessful attempt to impeach Supreme Court Justice Chase in 1805, and similarly unsuccessful attempt to prosecute former Vice President Aaron Burr on charges of treason. The analysis deals mainly with the political background  to these  forensic possibility of there being indirectly a connection between these two cases, involving the role of  the Chief Justice Marshall (a witness in the impeachment proceedings and the judge in the treason trial, whose sum-up may have influenced the jury in their verdict of acquittal). Reference is also made to the leading case of Marbury v. Madison, and the lesser known, but nevertheless important case (decided a week later) of Stuart v. Laird, in order to further clarify the political background  of the period, and the manner in which it affected judicial decisions and relations between the three branches of government.

*Full Professor of Law and Sociology  in Tel-aviv University.