Walter Nixon (plaintiff) was a former federal district court judge who was convicted of perjury and sentenced to prison. He refused to resign his commission even after incarceration, and the United States House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings against him. The matter was referred to the United States Senate to vote on Nixon’s removal. The Senate appointed a special committee to receive evidence and hear testimony in the case and then to report their findings to the full Senate. Nixon instituted this suit arguing that the Senate’s creation of a special committee to hear the case violated the Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 constitutional requirement that all impeached persons be “tried by the Senate.” Nixon sought a declaratory judgment that his impeachment conviction was void and that his judicial salary and privileges should be reinstated.