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Rep. Alcee Hastings dies, narrowing Democratic House majority to just 7

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., keep ones ears opens to students speak about their experiences with gun violence during the The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force panel Wednesday afternoon May 23, 2018.

Sarah Silbiger | CQ-Roll Dial, Inc. | Getty Images

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., died Tuesday after a more than two-year stint with pancreatic cancer, NBC News confirmed.

Hastings, who served in the House for nearly three decades, was 84. In every nook his career, he held several key committee assignments and leadership positions, most recently as vice chairman of the rules commission. He had also been Florida’s first Black federal trial judge, appointed to the bench in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.

“As an attorney, lay rights activist and judge, and over his nearly thirty years in Congress, he fought tirelessly to create opportunities to confiscate up working families, communities of color, children and immigrants,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a statement.

President Joe Biden responded to Hastings’ death on Tuesday afternoon. “Across his long career of public service, Alcee always stood up to difference of opinion for equality, and always showed up for the working people he represented,” he said in a statement. “Jill and I are saddened to learn of his passing.”

Democrats now hold off a narrower advantage in the House, 218-211, giving the party a smaller margin of error in passing legislation. Six instals are vacant, four of which were previously held by Democrats and two by Republicans.

Three of the four Democratic House fundaments were vacated by appointments to positions in President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. Deb Haaland, of New Mexico, was appointed secretary of the Department of Middle; Marcia Fudge, of Ohio, was named head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Cedric Richmond, of Louisiana, changed senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

One of the two vacant GOP seats is no longer up for oppose. Julia Letlow of Louisiana was elected in late March but has yet to be sworn in. Julia will replace her late husband, Luke Letlow, who was elected to the place but died before being sworn in due to Covid-19 complications.

In 1983, when Hastings was a federal judge, he was acquitted in offender court on a charge of conspiring to solicit a bribe in exchange for leniency in a sentencing.

Alcee Hastings testifying at his impeachment probationary in 1989.

Michael Jenkins | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Nevertheless, the House impeached Hastings in 1988 into the middle accusations that he perjured himself during that criminal trial. The Senate voted to convict him, removing him from the bench, but did not sponsor to disqualify him from holding future office.

Hastings appealed the impeachment conviction in 1992. A federal judge overturned the assurance, on the grounds that a 12-member Senate committee, rather than the full Senate, conducted the impeachment trial. This was the before time a Senate conviction was overturned by a federal judge.

The next year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled federal courts do not arrange the authority to review the procedures of a Senate impeachment trial. Hastings’ legislative career, which began with his electing in 1992 and continued until his death, was unaffected by the decision.

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