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The chief justice who presided over the first presidential impeachment trial thought it was political spectacle

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tags: politics, impeachment, Senate trial



On March 5, 1868, the first day of President Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial, the following item appeared on the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

The sheer poetry of this news item is unlikely to be repeated in the coverage of President Trump’s Senate trial.

As Trump’s trial gets set to begin, the spotlight is inevitably turning — just as it did with Johnson — to the chief justice of the United States, who must somehow preside over this very odd, kind-of-sort-of legal process of politicians sitting in judgment of the country’s commander in chief.

In Trump’s trial, it’s John G. Roberts Jr.

In Johnson’s trial, it was Salmon P. Chase.

Chase — not to be confused with Justice Samuel Chase, whose nickname was “Old Bacon Face” — was an extremely serious and pious man. Some of his closest friends could not recall ever seeing him laugh.

Read entire article at Washington Post

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