THE BLOG
07/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What's it Take to Impeach Someone Nowadays?

Rape is a horrible crime. Everyone agrees to this. It's especially so when a person in authority does it. Someone like a priest or a judge. In these cases the law should be especially harsh, but for some reason it isn't.

Federal Judges can get away with almost anything, and usually do. But then, once or twice in a very long while, they get caught and the law takes action. If these were state officials, then they would be gone. But the two guys in question are not. They're federal judges, and Federal Judges cannot be removed except by being impeached and convicted by congress. This is extremely hard to do.

Only in the most egregious and disgusting crimes, and sometimes not even that, get the attention of the US House of Representatives. Thomas Porteous, who was allegedly soooo corrupt that the National Judicial Conference literally begged the House to impeach him, a year and a half ago. Then it took six months for the House to take it up. A half a year later, around six months ago, Congress decided to re-authorize the so-called "Judicial Task Force on Judicial Impeachment" because Rep. Adam Schiff, who really couldn't be bothered with this sort of thing, hadn't yet gotten around to it yet. January has turned to June, and the Porteous case is just sitting there gathering dust.

If those of you are wondering why Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al were never impeached, well then, Thomas Porteous is your answer. But Tom isn't the worst of judges. Sam Kent is.

Kent's reputation as a complete pig has been known far and wide for years. How he had managed to get as far as he did as long as he did is quite simple. He's a federal judge and Federal Judges can keep their salaries as long as they like. Look at the aforesaid Judge Porteous. Kent has been accused of all the things that Porteous has, and would have been convicted of rape too, had he not taken a plea deal that allowed him to serve only 33 months in the pokey, and all the while getting almost a hundred and seventy-five grand a year. That's not chump change.

That's what got Congress off it's ass. The elders on the House Judiciary Committee ordered Schiff to get off his butt and actually do something about Kent. That only took three weeks! They called the poor women who had to put up with his gross behavior for years to testify, and it was horrifying. Kent sent a letter saying that if he'd get another year's salary, then he might actually resign, but only if the House would leave him alone.

Yesterday, barely a month after Kent was sentenced, the House Judiciary committee reported four articles of Impeachment against him. They haven't done that since Clinton in 1998. They haven't done it to a judge since Walter Nixon (no relation) in 1989, and if I remember correctly, the Nixon Case was on the docket since 1986.

There's got to be a better way.

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