Pickering, John (1738?-1805)

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PICKERING, JOHN (1738?-1805)

In March 1803 the house of representatives impeached John Pickering, federal district judge for New Hampshire, of habitual drunkenness, uttering blasphemy and profanity from the bench, and making decisions contrary to law. During his senate trial Pickering introduced a defense of insanity; but the Senate, in a partisan vote, found him "guilty as charged" and removed him from office. The vote was a warning to other Federalist judges that Congress did not need to convict them of a specific crime in order to remove them.

(See judicial impeachment.)

Dennis J. Mahoney