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Biography Alcee Hastings

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Alcee Hastings Alcee Hastings
Alcee Hastings
U.S. Representative for Florida (since 1993) - member of the Democratic Party.


Alcee Hastings Biography

ENG: Alcee Lamar Hastings (born September 5, 1936) is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 20th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He served as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida from 1979 until his impeachment and removal from that post in 1989, and is one of only eight federal officials in American history to be impeached and removed from office.


Early life, education, and law career

Born in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Hastings was educated at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and Howard University in Washington, D.C. He received his law degree from Florida A&M University in 1963.

He began to practice law in 1964.


1970 U.S. Senate election

Hastings ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1970, losing in the first primary to Lawton Chiles.


Judicial career (1979-1989)

In 1977, he became a judge of the circuit court of Broward County, Florida. In 1979, he was appointed by President Carter as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.

In 1981, Hastings was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case. In 1983, he was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court (resulting in a jail sentence for Borders).

In 1988, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3. He was then convicted in 1989 by the United States Senate, becoming the sixth federal judge in the history of the United States to be removed from office by the Senate. The Senate, in two hours of roll calls, voted on 11 of the 17 articles of impeachment. It convicted Hastings of eight of the 11 articles. The vote on the first article was 69 for and 26 opposed, providing five votes more than the two-thirds of those present that were needed to convict. The first article accused the judge of conspiracy. Conviction on any single article was enough to remove the judge from office. The Senate vote cut across party lines, with Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, voting to convict his fellow party member, and Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, voting to acquit.

The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again, but did not do so. Alleged co-conspirator, attorney William Borders went to jail again for refusing to testify in the impeachment proceedings, but was later given a full pardon by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office.

Hastings filed suit in federal court claiming that his impeachment trial was invalid because he was tried by a Senate committee, not in front of the full Senate, and that he had been acquitted in a criminal trial. Judge Stanley Sporkin ruled in favor of Hastings, remanding the case back to the Senate, but stayed his ruling pending the outcome of an appeal to the Supreme Court in a similar case regarding Judge Walter Nixon, who had also been impeached and removed.

Sporkin found some "crucial distinctions" between Nixon's case and Hastings's, specifically, that Nixon had been convicted criminally, and that Hastings was not found guilty by two-thirds of the committee who actually "tried" his impeachment in the Senate. He further added that Hastings had a right to trial by the full Senate.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled in Nixon v. United States that the federal courts have no jurisdiction over Senate impeachment matters, so Sporkin's ruling was vacated and Hastings's conviction and removal were upheld.


1990 Secretary of State election

Hastings attempted to make a political comeback by running for Secretary of State of Florida, campaigning on a platform of legalizing casinos. In a three-way Democratic primary, he placed second with 313,758 votes, or 33%, behind newspaper columnist Jim Minter's 357,340 votes (38%) and ahead of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon John Paul Rogers' 275,370 votes (29%). In the runoff, which saw a large dropoff in turnout, Hastings lost to Minter in a landslide, 300,022 votes to 146,375. Minter would go on to lose the general election to incumbent Republican James C. Smith.


U.S. House of Representatives (1993-Present) - Elections

Hastings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, representing Florida's 23rd district. After placing second in the initial Democratic primary for the post, he scored an upset victory over State Representative Lois J. Frankel in the runoff and went on to easily win election in the heavily-Democratic district. From that point on he has yet to face a serious challenge for reelection. Subsequent to redistricting and the 2012 election, Alcee Hastings represents Florida's 20th district beginning January 2013.



He was one of the 31 who voted in the House not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.

Hastings voted to impeach Texas federal judge Samuel B. Kent on all four counts presented against him on June 19, 2009.

In March 2010, Hastings defended the Democrats’ approach to passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying "I wish that I had been there when Thomas Edison made the remark that I think applies here: 'There ain't no rules around here, we're trying to accomplish something.' And therefore, when the deal goes down, all this talk about rules, we make them up as we go along."





January 24, 2013

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