Nixon, a former district court judge, who was convicted at a
criminal trial of making false statements before a federal grand
jury, sought judicial review of his subsequent removal from
Claimed that the Senate failed to try him within the meaning
of the impeachment clause of Article 1, Section 3, which
provides that the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all
Upon receiving articles of impeachment from the House, the
Senate referred the matter to a committee, which reported to the
Nixon wanted a full trial in front of the Senate.
The US Supreme Court dismissed the case.
The US Supreme Court found that the courts may not review the
impeachment of a Federal officer because the Constitution gives
sole authority for impeachments to the Senate.
Checks and Balances
The Court felt that the 'checks and balances' to impeachment was
that the Senate could only take up impeachment referred to them
by the House.
Senate was providing appellate review
There was no need for the courts to provide appellate review,
because the Senate was providing appellate review of the House's
decision to impeach.
Impeachment is a political question
The Court found that the issue was not judiciable because
impeachment is a political question.
It was argued that if Congress had significantly deviated from
justice, then maybe the Court should intervene.
There might be justification for judicial review, if the Senate
were to act in a manner seriously threatening the integrity of
Convicting upon a coin-toss.
Simply making the determination that he was a bad guy.