House Impeaches U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.

Washington, D.C. – Today on the House Floor, House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), presented the case for impeachment of Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana 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.

“Our investigation found that Judge Porteous participated in a pattern of corrupt conduct for years,” said Schiff. “Litigants have the right to expect a judge hearing their case will be fair and impartial, and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Regrettably, no one can have that expectation in Judge Porteous' courtroom. We hope the Senate will schedule the trial expeditiously, so that we may prove our case and remove him from office."

“Indeed, it is a rare and solemn occasion when the House of Representatives must vote on articles of impeachment against a federal judge,” said Goodlatte.  “Today’s vote marks only the second time in over 20 years that this has occurred.  However, when evidence emerges that an individual is abusing his judicial office for his own advantage, the integrity of the entire judicial system becomes compromised.  Today the House of Representatives took swift action to restore confidence in the judicial system by impeaching Judge Porteous.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, Judge Porteous is only the 15th federal judge in the nation’s history impeached by the House.  In January, the House Judiciary Committee’s Task Force on Judicial Impeachment and the full House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the four articles of impeachment. Now that the full House has passed these articles of impeachment, a trial for Judge Porteous’s removal will be held in the Senate.  As the lead impeachment managers, Reps. Schiff and Goodlatte will make the case in the Senate for Judge Porteous’s removal.

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 four articles of impeachment citing evidence that Judge Proteous intentionally made material false statements and representations under penalty of perjury, engaged in a corrupt kickback scheme, solicited and accepted unlawful gifts, and intentionally misled the Senate during his confirmation proceedings.