OPINION — Once upon a time, there was a Senate impeachment trial, where Rep. Adam Schiff was the lead House impeachment manager, courtly law professor Jonathan Turley made an impassioned argument against impeachment, multiple Senate witnesses testified, and the verdict was not only bipartisan, it was a unanimous decision. The most unbelievable part? It really happened, and it wasn’t very long ago.
The year was 2010, and the case was that of Thomas Porteous Jr., a berry-faced and bulbous federal judge from Louisiana, who had the misfortune of being a man who looked as guilty as he probably was. Porteous had been appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994, but by 2009, he found himself squarely in the sights of House and Senate Democrats, many of whom had supported his appointment, after a federal grand jury found evidence of bribery and corruption in Porteous’ court, including possible quid pro quos — sound familiar?