Senate Impeaches Clinton-Appointed Judge
The Senate on Wednesday convicted U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana on four articles of impeachment, making him just the eighth federal judge in history to be removed by Congress.
Porteous, who sat before senators in the well of the chamber as they voted separately on each count, declined to comment as he left the chamber. Attorney Daniel Schwartz said, “We’re obviously disappointed with the result.”
House prosecutors laid out a damaging case against Porteous, 63, a New Orleans native who was a state judge before winning appointment to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The prosecutors said gambling and drinking problems led him to begin accepting cash and other favors from attorneys and bail bondsmen with business before his court.
He also was accused of lying to Congress during his judicial confirmation and filing for bankruptcy under a false name.
The Senate voted unanimously to convict on the first article involving cash from attorneys, and with strong majorities on the other three. They also approved a motion barring him from holding future federal office.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who managed the case, said the bipartisan process worked as intended and “should be reassuring to every American.”
“There are times this place is pretty dysfunctional,” she said, “but … I think the responsibility was handled just as the founders would have wanted us to handle it.”
Many of the facts in the case weren’t disputed. Porteous’ lead attorney, Jonathan Turley, acknowledged that the judge made mistakes but argued that they were mostly personal failings that didn’t meet the “high crimes and misdemeanor” standard for impeachment. Turley also argued that many of the practices — such as accepting favors and expensive meals — were common in the Louisiana legal community.
But House prosecutors said the evidence showed a decades-long pattern of corruption. They told senators that allowing Porteous to remain on the bench would erode public confidence in the courts and make a mockery of the federal judiciary.
Accepting cash from attorneys and bail bondsmen is common in the Louisiana legal community? Sounds to me like someone needs to clean that sewer out!