Nominated for the position of chief justice, Williams withdrew his name from consideration before the Senate could act.
A Democrat who opposed the expansion of slavery, George H. Williams joined the Republican Party in 1864. That same year the Oregon state legislature elected Williams to the U.S. Senate. Aligned with the Radical Republicans, Williams was responsible for the Tenure of Office Act
Failing in his 1870 reelection bid, Williams secured the position of attorney general under President Ulysses S. Grant. In December, 1874, Grant nominated Williams for the position of chief justice, left vacant for over a year by the death of Salmon P. Chase. Opponents charged that Williams did not possess the legal skills to serve as chief justice. Some argued that Williams, who hailed from Oregon, would not be able to understand the complexities of commercial cases. Williams was also accused of using public funds to pay personal servants. Finally, his wife, Kate George Williams, alienated much of Washington through her unbridled ambition and reputation as a gossip. Williams weathered the opposition for some five weeks before he requested that his name be withdrawn from consideration.
Impeachment of presidents
Nominations to the Court