Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice [April 8, 2010] [open pdf - 352KB]
"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. [...] 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."
CRS Report for Congress, 98-186
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