G. Thomas Porteous Jr.
Porteous at his impeachment trial
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana|
October 11, 1994 –December 8, 2010
|Appointed by||Bill Clinton|
|Preceded by||Robert Frederick Collins|
|Succeeded by||Susie Morgan|
Gabriel Thomas Porteous Jr.
December 15, 1946
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Education|| Louisiana State University (B.A.)|
Louisiana State University Law School (J.D.)
Gabriel Thomas Porteous Jr. (born December 15, 1946)is a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He served for sixteen years before being impeached and removed from office in December 2010.
In the United States, the title of federal judge means a judge appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate pursuant to the Appointments Clause in Article II of the United States Constitution.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is a federal trial court based in New Orleans. Like all U.S. district courts, the court has original jurisdiction over civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States; certain civil actions between citizens of different states; civil actions within the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction of the United States; criminal prosecutions brought by the United States; and many other types of cases and controversies. It also has appellate jurisdiction over a very limited class of judgments, orders, and decrees.
Porteous was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in 1968 and a Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University Law School in 1971. He was a special counsel to the Office of the State Attorney General, Louisiana from 1971 to 1973. He served as Chief of the Felony Complaint Division in the District Attorney's Office, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana from 1973 to 1975.
A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.
Louisiana State University is a public research university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and the main campus historic district occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.
The Juris Doctor degree, also known as the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree and sometimes erroneously rendered as "Juris Doctorate," is a graduate-entry professional degree in law and one of several Doctor of Law degrees. The Juris Doctor is earned by completing law school in Australia, Canada, the United States, and some other common law countries. It has the academic standing of a professional doctorate in the United States, a master's degree in Australia, and a second-entry, baccalaureate degree in Canada.
He was in private practice in Gretna from 1973 to 1980, and in Metairie from 1980 to 1984. He was a city attorney of Harahan, Louisiana from 1982 to 1984. He was elected as a judge on the 24th Judicial District Court of Louisiana in 1984 and served until 1994.
Gretna is the second-largest city in and parish seat of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. Gretna lies on the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east and across the river from uptown New Orleans. It is part of the New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 17,736 at the 2010 census.
Metairie is a census-designated place (CDP) in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States, and is part of the New Orleans metropolitan area. With a population at the 2010 census of 138,481, Metairie is the largest community in Jefferson Parish and the fifth-largest CDP in the United States. It is an unincorporated area that would be Louisiana's fourth-largest city if it were incorporated. The zip codes that serve the community are 70001–70006.
Harahan is a city in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States, and a suburb of New Orleans. The population was 9,277 at the 2010 census.
On August 25, 1994, Porteous was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana vacated by Robert Frederick Collins.He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 7, 1994, and received his commission on October 11, 1994.
William Jefferson Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to the presidency, he was the governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992, and the attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.
Robert Frederick Collins is a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.
Porteous ruled in several landmark cases against the state, including one 2002 case in which he ruled that the state of Louisiana was illegally using federal money to promote religion in its abstinence-only sex education programs.He ordered the state to stop giving money to individuals or organizations that "convey religious messages or otherwise advance religion" with tax dollars. Judge Porteous also said there was ample evidence that many of the groups participating in the Governor's Program on Abstinence were "furthering religious objectives." Those who supported such groups objected to his ruling.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names. The term does not describe or provide for any specific political status or legal relationship when used by a state.
Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.
Abstinence is a self-enforced restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to sexual abstinence, or abstinence from alcohol, drugs, or food.
Also in 2002, Porteous overturned a federal ban on rave paraphernalia such as glowsticks, pacifiers, and dust masks, originally banned due to the subculture's ties to recreational drugs such as Ecstasy,after the American Civil Liberties Union successfully claimed the ban to be unconstitutional. He had previously ruled in 1999 against a Louisiana law aimed at banning the second trimester abortion procedure known as intact dilation and extraction.
A dust mask is a flexible pad held over the nose and mouth by elastic or rubber straps to protect against dusts encountered during construction or cleaning activities, such as dusts from drywall, brick, wood, fiberglass, silica, or sweeping. A dust mask can also be worn to protect against allergens. A dust mask is worn in the same fashion as a paint mask or surgical mask, but it is dangerous to confuse the three because they each protect against specific airborne dangers. Using the wrong mask for a job can present a significant and possibly deadly danger as many dust masks with widely varied levels of protection may look similar, and even masks that do not protect against dust at all, such as paint masks and surgical masks. Misfitting masks are also a danger as they allow a material to bypass the mask entirely. A correct fit may not be as critical in masks that are intended to protect against splattering liquids or mists. Dust masks are manufactured to protect against only certain dangers, and do not protect against chemicals such as vapors and mists. For this reason, it is dangerous to confuse dust masks with paint masks.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Officially nonpartisan, the organization has been supported and criticized by liberal and conservative organizations alike. The ACLU works through litigation and lobbying and it has over 1,200,000 members and an annual budget of over $100 million. Local affiliates of the ACLU are active in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The ACLU provides legal assistance in cases when it considers civil liberties to be at risk. Legal support from the ACLU can take the form of direct legal representation or preparation of amicus curiae briefs expressing legal arguments when another law firm is already providing representation.
Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. When deliberate steps are taken to end a pregnancy, it is called an induced abortion, or less frequently "induced miscarriage". The unmodified word abortion generally refers to an induced abortion. A similar procedure after the fetus has potential to survive outside the womb is known as a "late termination of pregnancy" or less accurately as a "late term abortion".
In 2001, Porteous filed for bankruptcy, III, at the center of a corruption probe. Porteous himself was the subject of investigation by federal investigators.which led to revelations in the press about his private life, specifically the fact that he was alleged to have had close ties with local bail bond magnate Louis Marcotte
In May 2006, Porteous, beset by the recent loss of his home due to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005,and the death of his wife a few months later, and still under investigation by a federal grand jury, was granted temporary medical leave and began a year-long furlough from the federal bench.
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On June 18, 2008, the Judicial Conference of the United States transmitted a certificate to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives expressing the Conference's determination that consideration of impeachment of Porteous might be warranted.The certificate stated that there was substantial evidence that 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." In a specific case,
he denied a motion to recuse based on his relationship with lawyers in the case . . . and failed to disclose that the lawyers in question had often provided him with cash. Thereafter, while a bench verdict (that is, a verdict by a judge sitting without a jury) was pending, he solicited and received from the lawyers appearing before him illegal gratuities in the form of cash and other things of value
thus depriving "the public of its right to his honest services".The certificate concluded that this conduct "constituted an abuse of his judicial office" in violation of the Canons of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.
The certificate also stated that there was substantial evidence that Porteous had "repeatedly committed perjury by signing false financial disclosure forms under oath" in connection with his bankruptcy, allowing "him to obtain a discharge of his debts while continuing his lifestyle at the expense of his creditors".Further, he had "made false representations to gain the extension of a bank loan with the intent to defraud the bank".
On September 18, 2008, the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to proceed with an investigation of the bribery and perjury allegations.On October 15, 2008 House Judiciary Chair John Conyers announced that Alan I. Barron had been hired as Special Counsel to lead an inquiry into Porteous' impeachment. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) were designated as Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, to lead the task force conducting the inquiry. Three months later, the House passed via voice vote a Conyers-sponsored resolution authorizing and directing the Committee on the Judiciary to inquire whether the House should impeach Porteous. The resolution was needed because the previous year's investigation had ended with the previous Congress. In October 2009, Reps. Conyers and Lamar S. 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 and, at the same time, a timeframe was established which called for the investigation to end in November 2009; the Judicial Impeachment Task Force would decide by the end of the year if impeachment would be recommended to the Judiciary Committee. If the recommendation was for impeachment, the Committee would take up the matter in early 2010. The task force scheduled the first hearings on the case for November 17 and 18, with more meetings in December before a final recommendation was made.
On November 13 Porteous sued the task force, claiming that the panel was violating his Fifth Amendment rights by using testimony given under immunity in making the case against him.On January 21, 2010, the panel voted unanimously to recommend four articles of impeachment to the full Judiciary Committee, which, on January 27, voted to send the articles of impeachment to the full House. On March 4, 2010, the full Committee reported H.Res. 1031, a resolution of impeachment of Porteous, to the full House. The full House considered the resolution, which included four articles of impeachment, on March 11, 2010. The subjects of the articles of impeachment, and the corresponding vote of the House of Representatives, appear below:
The same day, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) were appointed as managers to conduct the trial in the Senate.In addition, Schiff and Goodlatte were designated as the lead managers. The articles of impeachment were sent to the Senate, where the proceedings were started on March 17. On that same day, Senators passed two resolutions: one provided for a summons for Porteous to answer the articles against him, and the other provided for a committee to analyze the evidence against him and report their findings to the full Senate. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) were designated as Chair and Vice Chair of the committee, respectively. The committee met on April 16; The trial was due to begin in early August, with a vote before the Senate happening in late September, but due to delays, it did not begin until mid-September, with a vote scheduled for December 8, 2010.
On December 7, 2010, the full Senate began hearing the impeachment trial. During the Senate trial for impeachment, Jonathan Turley, acting in Judge Porteous's defense, announced that Judge Porteous had decided to leave the federal bench in 2011 were he not removed from office. On December 8 the Senate voted unanimously to convict Porteous on the first of four impeachment charges, removing him from the bench. The Senate subsequently convicted him on the remaining three articles and moreover disqualified him forever from holding any office of honor or profit under the United States.
On January 13, 2011, the Louisiana Supreme Court officially acknowledged the loss of Porteous's state attorney license.
The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, also called the House Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is charged with overseeing the administration of justice within the federal courts, administrative agencies and Federal law enforcement entities. The Judiciary Committee is also the committee responsible for impeachments of federal officials. Because of the legal nature of its oversight, committee members usually have a legal background, but this is not required.
Halsted Lockwood Ritter was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He was the thirteenth individual to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives and the fourth individual to be convicted and removed from office by the United States Senate.
Impeachment in the United States is the process by which the lower house of a legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. At the federal level, this is at the discretion of the House of Representatives. Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which officials have been impeached and subsequently convicted for crimes committed prior to taking office. The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held. That trial, and their removal from office if convicted, is separate from the act of impeachment itself. Analogous to a trial before a judge and jury, these proceedings are conducted by upper house of the legislature, which at the federal level is the Senate.
Kurt Damian Engelhardt is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Previously, he was the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Greg Gerard Guidry is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He is a former Associate Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
On June 19, 2008, the Judicial Conference of the United States delivered to the House of Representatives notification certifying "its determination that consideration of impeachment of United States District Judge Thomas Porteous may be warranted." After a number of months considering the matter, the House passed Resolution 1448, which authorized the House Judiciary committee to create a task force to investigate the matter. The task force's authority lapsed with the change of Congress, and on January 13, 2009, the House Passed Resolution 13, which renewed it. In May of that year, the Task Force's authority was expanded to include the Case of Samuel Kent, a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, leading to his impeachment by the House of Representatives on June 19, 2009.
Impeachment is the procedure in which a legislative body, like the US Congress, can punish or remove government officials from their positions. This is a way for the legislative branch to check and balance the executive and judicial branches and police itself as well.
Nannette Jolivette Brown is the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She previously served in the role of city attorney for the city of New Orleans from the time that Mayor Mitch Landrieu hired her in May 2010 until becoming a federal judge in 2011. As city attorney, Brown was responsible for all city contracts and oversaw all legal matters for the city.
Donna Sue "Susie" Morgan, known professionally as Susie Morgan, formerly known as Donna Sue Beach & Donna Sue Leteff, is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
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A state program to encourage sexual abstinence among adolescents has given money to individuals and groups that promote religion, a practice that violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge decided Thursday. Ruling in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous ordered the Governor's Program on Abstinence to stop giving grants to individuals or groups that use the money to convey religious messages "or otherwise advance religion in any way in the course of any event supported in whole or in part" by the program.
He said there was ample evidence that many of the groups participating in the Governor's Program on Abstinence were "furthering religious objectives
Banning pacifiers and glow sticks in an effort to curb drug use at all-night raves violates free speech and does not further the government's war on drugs, a federal judge has ruled in permanently blocking federal agents from enforcing the ban. [...] The American Civil Liberties Union, though, said the ban was unconstitutional and challenged it in federal court.
U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of New Orleans struck down the dilation and extraction law last March, calling it a "back door effort" to limit a woman's constitutional right to have an abortion. The judge agreed with abortion providers that the '97 law, Act 906, is so vague that it effectively covers any and all abortions.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
Porteous and his wife, Carmella, sought protection from their creditors under Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 2001. They filed the case under the names G.T. Ortous and C.A. Ortous with a post office box address in Harvey. Twelve days later, they amended the papers to use their real names. [...] Federal agents initially unearthed Porteous's alleged misconduct during Operation Wrinkled Robe, which largely centered on the influence of a bail bonds company over judges and jailers in Gretna. [...] Porteous returned to the federal bench in June, after spending a year on disability in the wake of losing his house and his wife and enduring the criminal investigation.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 355(b)(1), the Judicial Conference of the United States certifies to the House of Representatives its determination that consideration of impeachment of United States District Judge G. Thomas Porteous (E.D. La.) may be warranted.
The House of Representatives Tuesday authorized its Judiciary Committee to continue its unfinished impeachment investigation of Louisiana federal judge Thomas Porteous. [...] But the committee didn't complete the investigation before the 110th Congress adjourned at the end of 2008 and by rule all impeachment investigations must be authorized by the current Congress.
After the impeachment vote, Schiff and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, were named the lead impeachment managers for the Senate trial, which will decide whether to remove Porteous from the bench.(Archived by WebCite at https://www.webcitation.org/5pE0afpen)
The Senate also voted to bar him from ever holding public office in the future... The vote on the first count was unanimous, 96-0. On subsequent counts, the votes were 69-27, 88-8, and 90-6. Impeachment required a vote of two-thirds of the Senate.
Robert Frederick Collins
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana |