Federal Judges, G. Thomas Porteous, Politics

Senate Votes to Remove Judge Porteous from the Bench

This morning the United States Senate voted to convict Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana on all four articles of impeachment he faced. These convictions will remove him from his lifetime seat on the federal bench, making him only the eighth federal judge in U.S. history to suffer this fate, and strip him of the $174,000 pension he would have otherwise enjoyed.

Article I accused Judge Porteous, 63, of bringing the federal judiciary “into scandal and disrepute,” as a result of his “corrupt financial relationship” with attorneys appearing before him (who gave him “gifts”). The vote was unanimous: 96-0. Ouch.

Apparently the senators were not persuaded by Professor Jonathan Turley’s argument that Judge Porteous (E.D. La.) wasn’t guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, but simply “something of a moocher.” Think Kato Kaelin, but in a black robe.

Judge Porteous fared a bit better on the other three articles of impeachment….

But he still got convicted on them, with conviction requiring a two-thirds vote on each count. There’s a thorough round-up over at the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

The Senate also voted to convict Porteous on Article 2, which accused him of corruptly accepting meals, trips and other gifts from a bail bondsman while serving as a state judge. On this article, the vote was 69-27 for conviction, clearing the two-thirds threshhold. Jonathan Turley, Porteous’ counsel, had argued that the Senate should not convict Porteous for behavior that occurred before he served on the federal bench.

On the third article, alleging that Porteous lied during his personal bankruptcy case, the Senate voted 88-8 for conviction, The chair and vice chair of the Senate Impeachment Committee — Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah — voted “no” on both the second and third articles of impeachment.

Nice to see Republicans and Democrats coming together on something (in addition to tax cuts).

On the fourth article, alleging that Porteous misled the Senate by not disclosing during his 1994 confirmation process the corruption of which he now stands convicted, the Senate voted 90 to 6 to convict.

Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and David Vitter, R-La., voted guilty on all four counts.

And Senator Vitter knows a thing or two about “scandal and disrepute.”

Congratulations to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the other House impeachment managers, who prosecuted Porteous before the Senate, on their resounding victory.

As for Judge Porteous: Your (Dis)honor, we’ve enjoyed following your misadventures for the past four years. You will be missed.

Senate votes to remove Judge Thomas Porteous from office [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Lawyer for Judge Porteous Tells Senate His Client Is ‘Something of a Moocher’ [ABA Journal]
Senate Votes to Remove Louisiana Federal Judge [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
Senate Votes 96-0 to Impeach Federal Judge [WSJ Law Blog]
Senators put aside bickering for solemn duty in Porteous impeachment case [New Orleans Times-Picayune]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of (former) Judge G. Thomas Porteous

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