Wednesday, March 24, 2010

House Impeaches Clinton-Appointed Judge

Thomas Porteous, a federal district judge who as appointed by United States President Bill Clinton in 1994, was impeached by the United States House of Representatives, becoming only the ninth federal judge ever impeached.

The liberal Porteous allegedly accepted gifts from lawyers who appeared before him, which he failed to disclose. He was impeached unanimously on four charges, including one of corruption, one of perjury and another of making false financial disclosures.

Perjury is lying under oath – an offense that is inconsistent with holding public office, for which an oath is required. Clinton himself was impeached for perjury, but acquitted by the Senate, even though it has convicted lesser officials, like judges, for perjury, despite the extra constitutional requirement in Article I that the president “take care that the laws are executed.” Clinton was later disbarred in a plea bargain in which he escaped criminal prosecution.

Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL) did not vote against impeachment. He had been impeached and convicted by the Senate and removed from office as a federal judge, but the Senate did not impose the only penalty it constitutionally is permitted to impose: a ban on holding public office.

Conservatives should demand that the Senate convict Porteous and ban him from ever holding public office.

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