Press Releases and Statements

Sensenbrenner Calls for Direct Vote on Articles of Impeachment

Testimony given today by witnesses who were sexually harassed by Judge Kent

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Washington, June 3, 2009 | Wendy Riemann ((202) 225-5101) | comments

Former Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) today called on the House Judiciary Committee’s Impeachment Task Force Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Cal) to ask for a direct vote on Articles of Impeachment for U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of the Southern District of Texas.  Kent was sentenced in May to 33 months in federal prison for obstructing justice.  He is scheduled to report to prison on June 15. 

Judge Kent recently sent a letter of resignation to President Obama, effective June 1, 2010 after his request for early retirement, citing a disability, was denied by Edith Hollan Jones, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

“By making his resignation effective for June 1, 2010, taxpayers will essentially pay Judge Kent one year’s salary, almost $174,000, for sitting behind bars and doing nothing, rather than on the bench and working,” Sensenbrenner said.  “He has already pleaded guilty, and the testimony we’ve heard about his disgusting abuse of power against his female staffers confirms that he should no longer receive the privileges of serving on the bench.”    

Sensenbrenner continued, “We need to remove the bad apples from the federal judiciary and Judge Kent is one bad apple.  I call on Chairman Schiff to ask for a direct vote on Articles of Impeachment from members of the Task Force, so that the full Judiciary Committee may put the issue of impeachment to a vote, followed by the entire House of Representatives.  Every day that we delay permits a convicted felon, and a federal judge nonetheless, to collect a paycheck.  This is outrageous.” 

In February of this year, Kent pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. This followed an investigation, resulting in a plea agreement, where Judge Kent admitted non-consensual sexual conduct with two court employees.

Sensenbrenner currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. He previously filed impeachment resolutions against former federal judges Alcee Hastings, Walter Nixon and Harry Claiborne.  All three judges were impeached and removed. 


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