The United States Senate will convene with all 100 members on Tuesday, December 7th for the final arguments in the impeachment of Judge G. Thomas Porteous. Our weekend crew of contributors has agreed to keep the shop going until after the final vote — likely on Wednesday, December 8th.

The proceedings on Tuesday will begin with argument on three defense motions: (1) the motion to dismiss Article I on the basis of the Supreme Court’s Skilling decision, (2) the motion to dismiss articles on the basis of pre-federal conduct, and (3) the motion to dismiss articles on the basis of the aggregation of claims. I will have one hour to argue the motions below. With me on the Senate floor will be my colleagues from Bryan Cave Dan Schwartz, P.J. Meitl, and Dan O’Connor. Our bankruptcy lawyers from Bryan Cave (Keith Aurzada and Brian Walsh) will not be present for the final arguments. It has been the greatest honor of my career to serve with these Bryan Cave lawyers who are the finest group of litigators that I have seen in action.

Below are the three motions that will be argued:

Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.’sMotion to Dismiss the Articles of Impeachment as UnconstitutionallyAggregated

The Senate decided late last week that it would not deliberate on the motions before going to closing arguments. Instead, it will hear the motions and then take a break for a caucus luncheon.

The Senate will then return for closing arguments and both sides will be given ninety minutes. i will be doing the closing argument for our side. Judge Porteous will be present for both the motions and closing arguments. The Senate will then adjourn for deliberations. We will return to the Senate floor for the final vote.

Jonathan Turley


  1. Another comedy classic from Mayberry!

    That was outstanding, Blouise.

    Although it’s probably less parody than sadly accurate.

  2. Prof. Turley, played by Sheriff Taylor tries to help the Senate, played by Deputy Fife …. a parody

  3. Barbara Ann Jackson,

    All of what you say is true.

    This does not change the fact that the Senate is reaching beyond their proper realm of control – Federal courts – to address wrong doing while Porteous was sitting on the state bench. If they had a problem with is bad actions as a state judge – and I’ll stipulate he smells as rotten as week old fish – then they, the Senate should have caught him in the appointment process and denied his initial advancement. Overreaching to correct that “problem” is an improper grab for power that sets a bad precedent to allow the Senate to further politicize the judiciary.

    But what you say about Louisiana is spot on. It sets a gold standard for corruption, from the cops to the attorneys to the State House.

  4. Judge Thomas Porteous and the Judicial ‘Devil’s Den’ from Whence He Came

    “. . .The sustained Louisiana judicial decadence is now acutely displayed at this historical Congressional hearing, which the entire world can see for itself on C-Span. Facts, evidence, and testimonies therein solidify my convictions that the purpose of Louisiana courtrooms has very little to do with delivering justice.

    This OpEd is not to rant about what I believe. It underscores how the facts, evidence, and the testimonies presented at the impeachment proceedings exhibit the legal crisis here. Louisiana’s judicial chasm must not continue in light of such concrete revelations.

    Precisely, that trial supplies prima facie proof that the courts of Louisiana serve the purpose of unfair enrichment, at the disadvantage of some people; and for certain politically-connected people, the courts serve as an avenue to ‘the good life’. Additionally, anyone who hinders Louisiana ‘good life’ pursuits becomes subjected to the vilest treatment by jurists who disguise themselves as upholders and enforcers of laws.

    Judge Porteous’ vices, which he committed almost 5 years ago, pale in comparison to this incessant Louisiana judicial horror. Because the conduct of certain people in Louisiana is as bad or worse than Porteous, there is urgent cause for alarm, and judicial reform is a dire need.

    As a matter of fact, corresponding with my beliefs about the court, the United States Fifth Circuit Chief Judge, Edith Jones, said “The American legal system has been corrupted almost beyond recognition,” in a speech Judge Jones made in 2003, prior to Judge Porteous’ wrongful conduct.

    Our Judicial system is a devil’s den, that is a home to evil, corruption, wickedness, depravity, vexation, malignance, and decadence.

    In calling our judicial system a “devil’s den,’ I am saying that there is resident evil, corruption, wickedness, depravity, vexation, malignance, and decadence here. And ‘evil’ in the judicial arena has become camouflaged by something equally sinister, namely, ‘confusion’; or in legal terms, ‘obfuscation.’ The matter is exacerbated by things like deliberate harm, viciousness, and deceptive – as well as disregard for responsibility for disastrous results. Further, obfuscation is often masterminded by rational people, but they subsequently become confused by the very confusion they manufacture.

    Here in our State, corruption is often in the mix, and corruption is easy to accomplish because of confusion or obfuscation. Corruption traps and ruins people and everything and everyone it encounters unless they break free. *Examples of how corruption lures people in the legal field are NOW SHOWING at the impeachment trial of Judge Thomas Porteous, on the nearest viewing screen.

    Sadly, as manifest from the testimonies the legal professionals are proud of how they operate. They are proud about. . .”

  5. I second Frank’s comments. Best of luck to the Porteous defense team as they march into clearly hostile territory.

  6. *********************
    Not rule on dispositive motions before going on to closing arguments? Fair hearing

    Sorta reminds this old man of the 50’s black and white western tv shows where the old Judge says “Let’s hurry up and give him a fair trial before we hang him.”.

    I have previously shared my many disappointments I saw on C-SPAN for 5 days in the September,2010 12 member senate hearing. I do not expect tomorrow to be much different in this process. A great deal is at stake and I wish Jon and co-counsel all the best in representing their client in this very challenging case. Frank

  7. I hope that justice is served tomorrow. How lucky Judge Porteous is to have such an honorable and articulate man as a part of his defense team and, especially, offering up the closing argument… (I’m sure that our host will not disappoint and, hopefully, the outcome will be the correct one.)

  8. These proceedings have been a real eye opener and a marvelous learning experience for this layman.

    In my opinion the Congress, in attempting to convict Judge Porteous, have shown themselves to be a group of men and women who treat the law most cavalierly.

    I commend Judge Porteous’ legal team for maintaining dignity when confronted with overt disrespect and for representing their client in a manner worthy of praise and admiration in a setting that had all the earmarks of a Kangaroo Court.

    Tomorrow will be interesting … persevere, for you, the defense team, are representing far more than one man.

  9. eniobob: Times have certainly changed. When my husband was in law school in the seventies, he revered the Supreme Court. My daughter is taking Con Law currently, and she complains about how awful the Supreme Court is.

  10. I wish Mr. Turley well, though I approach the matter of impeachment from Raoul Berger’s viewpoint, which I believe is the Founding Father’s viewpoint: that impeachment is not about crimes a politician or official might have committed, but about offensive conduct (whatever that may be at that time).

    The question hinges on if Porteous breached the public trust because of any of his conduct. That is the only standard which needs to be met. Plying a judge with gifts most certainly does appear to breach the public trust. What if you have no gifts to give? Clearly, a system of gift giving between lawyers and judges stinks to high-heaven. And decent people should be appalled if this is customary throughout the country.

    Lawyers and judges regularly ruin the lives of citizens for less questionable misconduct than this judge has engaged in. And it is high time to start going after lawyers, officials, and judges for it. Very high indeed.

    The whole system is corrupt and is corrupted by these same people who hound us to death with their unjust laws, prisons, and prisoners (highest numbers in the world). This is a self-perpetuating system wherein the men and women in charge of it are the same people who profit handsomely from it financially. Only the product the manufacture is life or death, jail or freedom.

    As Berger points out in “Impeachment”, you could not get rid of a judge or official who was as crazy as a Jay-bird (my terms) if all you relied upon was whether or not a crime had been committed. Yes,that was about how to render justice in a monarchy, but the founders also foresaw a need for such a method in a Republic as well.

    Our Founders included impeachment in our system knowing full well its history from England. And that history is based in extra-legal procedures that may have no foundation in criminal activity. Impeachment was specifically created to deal with non-criminal removals (though criminal prosecution was still on the table after removal).

    This is why it was perfectly acceptable to impeach and convict Bill Clinton for his obscene conduct while serving as president. Of course, he was only impeached and not convicted. No, his conduct wasn’t illegal (though I’m sure he broke Federal statute about sexual behavior with an employee–Ms. Lewinsky), but it was terribly immoral and he richly deserved removal.

    We need more impeachments not less. We need these people to feel the sting of their own whips and chains. Not that judge Porteous is guilty of being unjust–I don’t know about his rulings. He might be the most just judge in US history.

    That there are so few impeachments in America doesn’t attest to some amazing record of virtuous behavior on the part of US officials and judges, but of a system so profoundly corrupt that these &#%*@^#$ get away with it.

    I’m still for a cool television show that shows judges, lawyers, and politicians being hunted down by camera crews for breaching the public trust like cops in the television show COPS hunt down citizens for their alleged crimes.

    Then we might have a system of justice to be proud of.

  11. “The Senate decided late last week that it would not deliberate on the motions before going to closing arguments. Instead, it will hear the motions and then take a break for a caucus luncheon.”


    Not rule on dispositive motions before going on to closing arguments? Fair hearing?

  12. FF LEO, I agree…they have done a great job…despite the rudeness of the Senate and the ever changing rules of the Senate when the rules did not favor the House….All’s I have ever asked for in life is fairness…it appears that that is as elusive as asking for an honest congress person…

  13. Regardless of what the Senate’s vote will be or what I think the outcome should be, you and your legal team have done a thoroughly admirable job representing Judge Porteous.

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