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Impeachment : an overview of constitutional provisions, procedure, and practice

Author: Elizabeth B Bazan; Anna C Henning; Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.
Publisher: [Washington, D.C.] : Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, [2010]
Series: CRS report for Congress, 98-186.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : National government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"For the first time since the judicial impeachments of 1986-1989, the House of Representatives has impeached two federal judges. On June 19, 2009, the House voted to impeach U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The impeachment trial of Judge Kent before the Senate was dismissed after Judge Kent resigned from office and the House indicated that it did not  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Legislative materials
Material Type: Document, Government publication, National government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Elizabeth B Bazan; Anna C Henning; Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.
OCLC Number: 638959508
Notes: Title from PDF cover (Open CRS, viewed July 16, 2010).
"April 26, 2010."
Description: 1 online resource (30 pages).
Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Series Title: CRS report for Congress, 98-186.
Responsibility: Elizabeth B. Bazan, Anna C. Henning.

Abstract:

"For the first time since the judicial impeachments of 1986-1989, the House of Representatives has impeached two federal judges. On June 19, 2009, the House voted to impeach U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The impeachment trial of Judge Kent before the Senate was dismissed after Judge Kent resigned from office and the House indicated that it did not wish to pursue the matter further. The impeachment process with respect to U.S. District Court Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr., from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is ongoing. This impeachment inquiry was initiated in the 110th Congress and has continued in the 111th Congress. H. Res. 1031, a resolution impeaching Judge Porteous for high crimes and misdemeanors, was introduced on January 21, 2010. The resolution includes four articles of impeachment. The measure was referred to the House Judiciary Committee the same day. On March 4, 2010, H. Res. 1031 was reported out, H. Rept. 111-427, and placed on the House Calendar, Calendar No. 170. On March 11, 2010, the House impeached Judge Porteous. In four unanimous votes, the House approved each of the four articles of impeachment, then agreed to the impeachment resolution by a voice vote. On March 17, 2010, the House Managers presented these articles of impeachment before the bar of the Senate. Pursuant to S. Res. 457, the Senate issued a summons to Judge Porteous to respond to the articles of impeachment. He filed his answer to the articles against him on April 7, 2010, and the House filed its replication to the answer on April 15, 2010. Under S. Res. 458, the Senate created an Impeachment Trial Committee to take evidence in the case. The full Senate, sitting as a Court of Impeachment, will make the ultimate decision whether to acquit or convict on each article and, if Judge Porteous is convicted on one or more articles, will impose judgment of removal alone or removal and disqualification from holding any further federal office. The impeachment process provides a mechanism for removal of the President, Vice President, and other federal civil officers found to have engaged in 'treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.' The Constitution places the responsibility and authority to determine whether to impeach and to draft articles of impeachment in the hands of the House of Representatives. A number of means have been used to trigger the House's investigation, but the ultimate decision in all instances as to whether impeachment is appropriate rests with the House. Should the House vote to impeach and vote articles of impeachment specifying the grounds upon which impeachment is based, the matter is then presented to the Senate for trial. Under the Constitution, the Senate has the unique power to try an impeachment. The decision whether to convict on each of the articles must be made separately. A conviction must be supported by a two-thirds majority of the Senators present. A conviction on any one of the articles of impeachment brought against an individual is sufficient to constitute conviction in the trial of the impeachment. Should a conviction occur, then the Senate must determine what the appropriate judgment is in the case. The Constitution limits the judgment to either removal from office or removal and prohibition against holding any future offices of 'honor, Trust or Profit under the United States.' The precedents in impeachment suggest that removal may flow automatically from conviction, but that the Senate must vote to prohibit the individual from holding future offices of public trust, if that judgment is also deemed appropriate. A simple majority vote is required on a judgment. Conviction on impeachment does not foreclose the possibility of criminal prosecution arising out of the same factual situation. The Constitution does not permit the President to extend executive clemency to anyone in order to preclude his or her impeachment by the House or trial or conviction by the Senate."

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