For the first time in 20 years, the House of Representatives voted to impeach a federal judge Friday. The unanimous vote in favor of four articles of impeachment against federal judge Samuel Kent now goes to the U.S. Senate for trial.
Kent has refused to resign from the federal bench despite his conviction in connection with sexually assaulting two women who worked for his court in Galveston, Texas. On Monday, Kent began serving a 33-month prison sentence at the Devens Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts.
Kent tendered his resignation to President Obama last month. But the effective date was a year from now. That means Kent could continue to collect his federal salary from jail.
The House last impeached two federal judges in the fall of 1989: Walter Nixon of Mississippi and current Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. Both were convicted in the Senate and stripped of their positions. Hastings was never convicted in court. In 1992, voters elected the Florida Democrat to the same body that impeached him three years earlier.
The House has only impeached 13 federal jurists in its history. The Senate has not yet set a schedule to try Kent.