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House Task Force Recommends Impeachment for N.O Judge

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  • House Task Force Recommends Impeachment for N.O Judge

    New Orleans federal judge Thomas Porteous

    Many years ago, my administrative-law professor asked my class which branch of government we felt was most “trustworthy.” Why he asked us this, I don’t recall, other than to show perhaps how unified and predictable we were in our thinking. Because we were: En masse, hands shot up when he threw out “the judiciary” as a possible answer.

    Were the professor to assemble us now, years later, and ask the same question, I imagine the answer would largely be the same. But I bet more of us would pause before sending our arms skyward. Because the judiciary — on both the state and federal level — has has come under serious fire. Sam Kent, Elliot “Spike” Maynard, Manuel Real. The names stack up.

    The latest to come under serious fire: New Orleans federal judge Thomas Porteous. A House task force on Thursday recommended unanimously that Congress impeach him. Porteous has been accused of improperly taking cash and gifts and lying during his Senate confirmation. Click here for the AP story. Click here, here and here for previous LB posts.

    Porteous would face four articles of impeachment if the full House accepts the recommendation, which states that he “engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him as a federal judge.”

    Among the charges is the allegation that Porteous took cash, gifts and other services from lawyers and a bail bondsman with business before his court.

    If the House proceeds with the charges and Porteous is found guilty in the Senate, he would become just the eighth federal judge in U.S. history to be impeached and convicted by Congress.

    Porteous offered little in his defense during a series of hearings before the House panel. His defense attorney has acknowledged that Porteous may have shown poor judgment but argues it doesn’t warrant impeachment.

    Democrats have mostly led the impeachment charge. But Republicans haven’t shied away from jumping on.

    “That’s probably the best thing I can say about this judge is that he brought us together in a spirit of bipartisanship,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said after the vote.

  • #2
    About Federal Judge Thomas Porteous

    G. Thomas Porteous Jr. (born 1946) is a United States federal judge.

    Impeachment proceedings

    On June 18, 2008 the Judicial Conference of the United States transmitted a certificate to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing the Conference's determination that consideration of impeachment of Judge Porteous might be warranted. The certificate stated that there was substantial evidence that Judge Porteous "repeatedly committed perjury by signing false financial disclosure forms under oath," thus concealing "cash and things of value that he solicited and received from lawyers appearing in litigation before him."

    On January 13, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 15 by voice vote, authorizing and directing the Committee on the Judiciary to inquire whether the House should impeach Judge Porteous. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and was proposed because the investigation ended with the previous Congress and a renewal was needed. In October 2009, Reps. Conyers and Lamar Smith introduced a resolution asking to access the Judge's tax returns as part of the investigation. The resolution was referred to the Rules Committee. At the same time a timeframe was established for the investigation.

    Read more:

    Thomas Porteous - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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