Impeachment — It's Back!
Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water, impeachment is back in the news. Yesterday the House of Representatives unanimously approved four impeachment articles calling for the removal of District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of New Orleans.
Porteous is accused of taking payments from lawyers who appeared in front of him while he was a state court judge, and of submitting false statements in his personal bankruptcy case.
The Senate will “try” Judge Porteous’ case by appointing twelve senators to hear the evidence against him (and in his favor), while the other 88 senators ignore the case. Then all of them — the informed and the ignorant alike — will vote to remove him.
I will have considerably more to say about this case in coming days and weeks. After all, I defended before the Senate the last judge who was impeached and removed by the Senate, Mississippi Judge Walter L. Nixon, Jr., and challenged the constitutionality of the Senate’s trial procedure. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the issue is a “political question” confided exclusively to the Senate’s powers.
And last year my book about the first presidential impeachment, Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, was published.
For now, though, I share only this wonderful example of the pot-calling-the-kettle-black. The impeachment resolution was presented in the House by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan. I reproduce the report from the New Orleans newspaper:
“House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said “it’s a sad day” when the House finds a public official has “betrayed his office.” Conyers spoke one day after his wife, Monica, a former Detroit City Council member, was sentenced to 37 months in prison after her guilty plea to bribery.”
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