The House Judiciary Committee will consider whether to begin a rare impeachment trial of a federal judge in Louisiana who has been accused of ethics violations.
The U.S. Judicial Conference sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging by a unanimous vote that Congress review the case of District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of the Eastern District of Louisiana. The conference determined that Porteous conduct "brought disrepute to the federal judiciary."
The House panel will now look into the case and decide whether to recommend to the full chamber to impeach Porteous. If the House votes to do so, the Senate would be required to begin an impeachment trial against him. The last such Senate trials for fany ederal judges were nearly 20 years ago.
"Now that the Judicial Conference has completed its review of Judge Porteous's actions, the House Judiciary Committee will promptly review the materials provided by the Conference and determine what further action should be taken in this matter," Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) said in a statement. "We take these allegations and our duty to respond to them very seriously."
The New Orleans Times Picayune reported on Porteous' potential impeachment trial this morning.
"There was substantial evidence that Porteous committed perjury by signing false financial disclosures to conceal cash and things of value that he solicited from lawyers appearing before him, the panel found," the Times-Pic reported.
"Porteous repeatedly committed perjury during his personal bankruptcy case to obtain a discharge of debts "while continuing his lifestyle at the expense of his creditors," the certificate [ from the U.S. Judicial Conference] says.
He also systematically concealed from litigants and the public financial transactions by filing false financial disclosures about his income, gifts, loans and liabilities, the panel found."
Fox News noted that one of last two federal judges removed from the bench via impeachment, Alcee Hastings, is now serving in the House as a Florida Democratic rep.
"If the House approves impeachment articles, the case is then sent to the Senate, which renders a verdict. Porteous' removal from the bench would be the first of its kind since 1989. Two judges were convicted then. One, Alcee Hastings, is now serving in the House as a Democratic representative from Florida."