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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Impeachment of Judge Porteous

2010 December 18 - Key Votes

For the eighth time in history, and the first time this century, the Senate has removed a federal judge from office. On Wednesday, Louisiana District Judge G. Thomas Porteous was found guilty of all four articles of impeachment. He was also found guilty on charges of corruption.

Porteous becomes the first federal official since President Bill Clinton to be impeached and the first official to be removed from office since Chief Judge Walter Nixon of the Southern District of Mississippi on November 3, 1989. President Bill Clinton appointed former-Judge Porteous back in 1994.

On March 11, 2010, the House of Representatives approved all four articles of impeachment against Porteous. On March 17, 2010, the Senate organized Porteous' impeachment trial. Finally, on December 7th, 2010, Porteous was found guilty of all four articles of impeachment, removed from office, and, by approval of a motion, was disqualified from ever holding office again.

Each of the four articles of impeachment requires a minimum 2/3 vote in the Senate. The four articles of impeachment that Porteous was accused of were: that he was "incompatible with the trust placed in him", he had a "longstanding pattern of conduct that demonstrates his unfitness to serve", he had made false statements in his bankruptcy filing, and made false statements to the Senate and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with his nomination to the federal bench.

Before impeachment proceedings can begin, a quorum must be assembled. A quorum is the necessary number of Senators (at least 51) needed in ...

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