Samuel A. Otis Twice Signed Subpoena for the Impeachment of Samuel Chase. Two pages (front and back), 8" x 9.5", City of Washington; December 24, 1804. The partly printed document directs the Marshal of the district of Maryland to serve and subpoenas to James Winchester, Philip Moore, Cornelius Comegys, John Purviance, Thomas Chase, and John Stewart. The verso commands them "to appear before the Senate of the United States on the Fourth day of February next, at the Senate chamber... to testify your knowledge, in the cause, which is before the Senate, in which the House of Representatives have impeached Samuel Chase, one of the associate justices of the Supreme Court." Otis signs on both sides as Secretary of the Senate.

    Chase was served with eight articles of impeachment having to do with cases he had presided over in lower courts, and all alleged impropriety influenced by his partisan leanings. Chase was a Signer of the Declaration, and had been appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington. His politics had evolved over the years, and his Federalist beliefs landed him squarely against Jefferson and his Republican allies. Chase successfully defended his case, citing adherence to precedent in all instances. He was acquitted of all charges, and to date is the only Supreme Court Justice to have been impeached.

    Condition: Both blind embossed paper seals are present, though the outer portions are lost. The document has toning and is very fragile, with chipping at the margins, and a small hole at the top. Small tear at top, with ghosting of a wax seal.

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    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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