APRIL 6, 2021


Democrat House Rep. Alcee Hastings Dies at Age 84

Hastings, a civil rights activist, was known for breaking down barriers. He became the first African American federal judge in Florida when former President Jimmy Carter appointed him in 1979. He served in the role for 10 years until he was impeached and removed from office on counts related to bribery, perjury and tampering with evidence. 

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), center, speaks about black judicial nominees, while flanked by (L-R) Rep. Fredrica Wilson (D-Fla.), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 17, 2013. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

He suffered from pancreatic cancer.

Hastings had been a federal judge and was impeached and convicted by the Senate in the late 1980s. But he then ran for Congress and won in 1992.

Hastings represented Florida’s 20th Congressional District, which includes Democratic areas around Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. He was the dean of the Florida congressional delegation as the longest-serving member from the Sunshine State.

Hastings’ passing means an even slimmer majority for the Democrats in the House. Once Rep.-elect Julia Letlow, R-La., is sworn into office to serve out the remainder of her late husband’s seat, Republicans will hold 212 seats compared to Democrats’ 218 seats.

What does this mean for the future? This means Democrats can only lose two votes on their side and pass a bill without Republican help. By rule, tie votes fail.

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