Democrat Alcee Hastings, Who Was Impeached and Removed, Makes Impeachment Rules

Alcee Hastings (Win McNamee / Getty)
Win McNamee / Getty

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) is the second-ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, which is setting the rules for the “impeachment inquiry” into President Donald Trump. Hastings himself was impeached and removed from office in 1989 — one of only eight federal officials, all of whom have been judges, so be so relieved of their duties.

Hastings was removed for bribery, one of the causes enumerated in the Constitution’s Impeachment Clause (Article II, Section 4): “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

As the New York Times reported in 1989:

In a solemn two-hour proceeding, the Senate today removed Federal District Judge Alcee L. Hastings from the bench by convicting him of eight impeachment articles, including one charging that he had conspired to obtain a $150,000 bribe.

Judge Hastings sat silently facing the senators as Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia called out on the first article, ”Senators, how say you, Is the respondent guilty or not guilty?”

The vote was 69 to 26, providing five votes more than the two-thirds of those present that were needed to convict. The first article accused the judge of conspiracy. Conviction on any single article was enough to remove the judge from office, and he left shortly after the vote.

Democrats, who control the majority on the House Rules Committee, rejected all 17 amendments proposed by the Republican minority on Wednesday. In one telling exchange, Hastings argued that due process rights did not apply to the president during impeachment, which he likened to the grand jury stage of a criminal trial.

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) countered that grand jury proceedings are meant to be secret, yet Democrats keep leading bits of testimony to the media.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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