The House Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended impeachment of U.S. District Judge Walter Nixon of Mississippi - the second jurist in less than a year to face ouster from the federal bench.
By a 34-0 vote Tuesday, the committee adopted three articles of impeachment against the convicted judge for "high crimes and misdemeanors" and sent the resolution to the full House for action later this week, possibly Thursday.Nixon, who continues to draw his $89,500 salary while serving a five-year prison sentence, has refused to resign, maintaining his innocence throughout the impeachment proceeding.
The committee action sets in motion the lengthy procedure outlined in the Constitution for removing a federal judge from office. Nixon must be impeached by the House - an action comparable to indictment - and then must be convicted by two-thirds of the Senate to lose his lifetime judicial appointment.
Nixon was convicted in 1986 of lying to a grand jury about his knowledge of drug charges filed against the son of Mississippi millionaire Wiley Fairchild and about his efforts to intervene in the case.