Longtime Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida has died at age 84 after a two-year fight with pancreatic cancer. The Palm Beach County Democrat died Tuesday, according to chief of staff Lale M. Morrison. Hastings had been a reliably liberal voice on Capitol Hill since he first won his seat in 1992, becoming an outspoken advocate for minorities, gays, immigrants, and the elderly, per the AP. But for just as long, he was dogged by ethics questions, stemming from his impeachment from a federal judgeship prior to his election. Hastings was acquitted of charges that he solicited a bribe from two convicts seeking to shorten their sentences.
The House impeached him anyway and the Senate convicted him, but he nevertheless won a seat in Congress in 1992 and took his oath before the same body that had impeached him. The case remained a nagging footnote throughout his career and was seen as derailing his ambitions for a greater leadership role in the Democratic Party. Still, at the time of his death, Hastings was seen as the "dean" of Florida's congressional delegation as its longest-serving member, per the Hill. Hastings began his career as a civil rights attorney before being nominated as a federal judge by President Carter in 1979. He would become only the sixth federal judge in history to be removed from office by the Senate.
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