In a potentially history-making moment, Democrat Alcee Hastings — who is a member of the House of Representatives — will cast a vote on whether or not to impeach Donald Trump, having been impeached himself, Yahoo News reports. It would be the first time in U.S. history that a sitting member of Congress who has been impeached and removed from office will vote on another public servant facing impeachment.
The impeachment process in the United States — which is spelled out in the Constitution as a way of holding the president accountable — is not just limited to the occupant of the Oval Office. Indeed, many federal officials can be impeached, including federal judges. Florida Rep. Hastings was one such judge.
Hastings was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida by then-President Jimmy Carter in 1977. He held that position until October 20, 1989, at which point he was ordered to be removed from his judgeship after the Senate convicted him of misconduct.
In 1981, Hastings was accused of accepting a bribe of $150,000 in exchange for a lenient sentence on two individuals charged in a racketeering case. Indeed, Hastings was even criminally charged for that alleged bribe. However, his alleged co-conspirator refused to testify and the case was dropped.
However, in 1988 the House of Representatives took up the case and Hastings was later impeached. In October 1989, he was convicted by the Senate and stripped of his judgeship. The Senate did not, however, disqualify him from holding further public office. A few years later, in 1992, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Frank Bowman III, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law and author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump, calls Hastings’ rebound from his impeachment and subsequent removal from office something of a success story.
“Rep. Hastings is the only person in U.S. history to have been impeached, convicted, removed from office and then returned to high government position,” Bowman writes.
Yahoo News writer Alexander Nazaryan points out several parallels between Hastings’ impeachment and that of Trump. For example, both men publicly indicated their belief that they were victims of an unfair and unrestrained political process. Both men have steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, despite considerable evidence that seems to implicate them. Both men even used the words “witch hunt,” though in Hastings’ case he was referring to “racist” Southerners rather than Congress itself, as Trump has.