In ‘88, Pelosi Voted to Impeach Hastings — Will She Support Him Now?

By Byron York 

National Review Online

On August 3, 1988, the House of Representatives voted on a resolution, co-sponsored by Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, to impeach Alcee Hastings, the federal judge in Florida accused of conspiring to take a bribe. On that day 18 years ago, some of the Democrats who are today preparing to take power in the House were relatively new to the job; others were, even then, veterans who had served in Congress for years. For both, the vote was a rarity; Hastings was just the 10th judge in U.S. history to face impeachment.

One of the newcomers to the House was the future Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been in office a little more than a year. She voted to impeach Hastings.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the future Majority Leader, also voted to impeach. And so did the lawmakers who will soon chair powerful House committees. Rep. Conyers, now in line to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Charles Rangel, soon to chair the Ways and Means Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Barney Frank, in line to head the Financial Services Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Henry Waxman, next chair of the Government Reform Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. John Dingell, in line to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. George Miller, soon to head the Education and the Workforce Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. David Obey, in line to chair the Appropriations Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Ike Skelton, next chair of the Armed Services Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. John Spratt, next in line for the Budget Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Howard Berman, next head of the Ethics Committee, voted to impeach. Rep. Tom Lantos, in line to chair the International Relations Committee, voted to impeach. And Rep. Louise Slaughter, next chair of the Rules Committee, voted to impeach.

So did other well-known Democratic lawmakers like Rep. John Lewis, Rep. (and later Sen.) Barbara Boxer, Rep. (and later Sen.) Charles Schumer, Rep. (and later Sen.) Richard Durbin, Rep. Ed Markey, Rep. Ron Dellums, Rep. Julian Dixon, and Rep. Richard Gephardt.

In fact, just about everybody in the House voted to impeach Judge Hastings: the vote was 413 to 3. (Just for record, the three who voted against impeachment were Reps. Gus Savage, Mervyn Dymally, and Edward Roybal.)

A few of those members have left the House, moved on to the Senate, or died. But the ones who remain — the ones who now have the seniority to hold influential positions — have another tie to Hastings: They’ve been his colleagues for more than a dozen years. Hastings, who was convicted in the Senate but not barred from holding future office, ran for Congress himself in 1992, winning a seat from Florida’s 23rd District. And now, because incoming Speaker Pelosi has apparently ruled out the appointment of next-in-line Rep. Jane Harman to chair the House Intelligence Committee, Hastings appears to be headed toward the top position on that panel — one of the most sensitive and responsible posts on Capitol Hill.

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