political question

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In Nixon v. United States (1993), a federal district judge with life tenure was impeached by the House of Representatives, tried by a Senate committee, and, based on the Senate committee’s findings, convicted by Senate. The judge, Walter Nixon, appealed the conviction on the basis that the process failed the constitutional requirement that the case by 'tried by the Senate.' The Supreme Court, however, held that Nixon’s challenge presented a nonjusticiable political question and dismissed the case. The Court could not review the impeachment because the Constitution had reserved that function for the legislative branch. Chief Justice Rehnquist, speaking for the majority, explained: "In our constitutional system, impeachment was designed to be the only check on the Judicial Branch by the Legislature. [Judicial] involvement in impeachment proceedings, even if only for purposes of judicial review, is counterintuitive because it would eviscerate the 'important constitutional check' placed on the Judiciary by the Framers."