Notable as the first federal judge to be impeached, Pickering was forced to leave his position when Thomas Jefferson notified the United States House of Representatives of his drunkenness, illegal actions, and potential insanity.
After earning his law degree from Harvard, he established legal practices in Greenland and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He went on to serve in the New Hampshire State Legislature.
Before being ousted as a U.S. District Court Judge for New Hampshire, he served relatively more successfully as the New Hampshire Superior Court's Chief Justice.
A native of Newington, New Hampshire, he later lived in the nearby town of Portsmouth.
In 1795, Pickering was appointed to the Federal District Court by then-President George Washington.