12.08.10

Senate Votes to Impeach Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate voted to convict U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana on all four articles of impeachment, removing him from his lifetime seat on the federal bench and denying him his $174,000 annual pension.  Specifically, the four articles of impeachment, which required a two-thirds vote to pass, that were approved by the Senate charged Porteous of intentionally making material false statements and representations under penalty of perjury, engaging in a corrupt kickback scheme, soliciting and accepting unlawful gifts, and intentionally misleding the Senate during his confirmation proceedings.  The Senate also voted to disqualify Porteous from ever holding public office in the U.S.

The lead House impeachment managers, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), presented the case to the full Senate for Porteous’s removal yesterday.  Judicial impeachments are extremely rare – Porteous is only the eighth federal judge in U.S. history to be impeached and convicted by Congress. 

“Judge Porteous engaged in a persistent pattern of corruption throughout his career, on both the state and federal bench,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).   “Allowing him to remain a judge would have eroded public confidence in the courts and made a mockery of the federal judiciary.  I have great admiration for how the Senate conducted the trial, which was eminently fair to both sides, and the House is grateful that a corrupt judge has now been removed.”

“When a judge abuses his office in the way that Judge Porteous did, it becomes necessary to take the appropriate action in order to restore the confidence of the American people in the judicial system,”said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).  “In every step of this lengthy process, we worked in a non-partisan manner to uncover the truth in order to root out corruption and protect the integrity of our judicial system. We are pleased that the Senate accepted our argument that they should set a high standard for conduct that will be a warning to all who are entrusted with public duties.”

As lead impeachment managers, Reps. Schiff and Goodlatte kicked off the impeachment trial before a special Senate Impeachment Trial Committee with an opening statement on Monday, Sept. 13.  To watch the opening statement, visit Rep. Schiff’s YouTube page: www.youtube.com/AdamSchiff. For more information about the trial, visit: http://bit.ly/8YKAX3.  Additionally, a short report of the Committee can be found at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/senate/sitc/index.html.

OnMarch 11, on the House Floor, House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment Chairman Schiff and Ranking Member Goodlatte, presented the case for impeachment of Judge Porteous to the full House.  After the presentation, the House unanimously approved four impeachment articles relating to Judge Porteous.  Following the impeachment vote, Reps. Schiff and Goodlatte were named the lead impeachment managers for the Senate trial, which will be the Senate's first since 1999, when Bill Clinton’s presidency was being questioned.  The Senate last considered the removal of a federal judge in 1989.

Following an initial investigatory phase, the Task Force on Judicial Impeachment held four separate evidentiary hearings over five days in November and December 2009, in order to determine whether Judge Porteous’s conduct provides a sufficient basis for impeachment and to develop a record upon which to recommend whether to adopt Articles of Impeachment.  This investigation led the Task Force and the full committee to unanimously approve the four articles of impeachment.

-30-