In the current debate over the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump, there is much discussion of the impeachment proceedings regarding former President Richard Nixon. However, in many respects, there is another Nixon impeachment proceeding—that of Walter Nixon Jr.—that is at least as relevant and responds to many of the due process objections that Trump’s counsel and other defenders have been raising.
Walter Nixon Jr. was a federal judge in Mississippi who used his influence to quash a state court criminal prosecution of the son of a close friend, and then lied under oath on several occasions about it. He was convicted and sent to prison, but refused to resign his judgeship and continued to be paid while behind bars. The House of Representatives impeached him and the Senate tried him, using live witnesses who were heard only by those senators on the committee specially appointed for that purpose. A full transcript was made available, and the Senate voted by a margin well above two-thirds needed to convict.
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