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Why did Thomas Jefferson and his Secretary of State James Madison attempt to deny the "midnight judge" appointments made by John Adams just before Adams handed over the presidency to Jefferson?
Jefferson believed that judges should be chosen by the Senate, not the president.
Jefferson and Madison disliked Adams' efforts to pack the judiciary with Federalist judges and thus retain some measure of Federalist power in the government.
The new Chief Justice John Marshall reported to Jefferson that he was unhappy with the quality of the judges serving with and under him who Adams had appointed.
Jefferson remained angry with Adams over the vicious campaign of 1800, and was attempting to gain vengeance on his supporters.
Jefferson felt that the Federalist judges appointed would have been too in favor of states' rights, undermining Jefferson's plans.