A FEDERALIST JUDGE
THE SEDITION ACT OF 1798, combined with the Federalist Party's monopoly of the national judiciary, had a great influence upon President Jefferson's attitudes toward the impeachment of judges. One of his earliest actions after taking office in 1801 was to free all editors, publishers, letter writers, and lawyers who were still in prison as violators of that law. The act's first victim, Congressman Matthew Lyon of Vermont, who had been triumphantly reelected while in jail, already was free through expiration of his sentence. His "crime" had been to write that the devotion of President Adams to public welfare was "swallowed up in a continual grasp for power, in an unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice." Lyon received a year in prison for that, with a framer of the Constitution, Supreme Court Justice William Paterson, presiding over his trial.
Partly to strengthen the Federalist hold on the judiciary,