Here is why the impeachment vote could be the obituary headline for Republicans
Composite image of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) via screengrabs.

Republican senators will likely be remembered after death for how they voted on impeachment according to a new analysis from NYU Law Prof. Ryan Goodman.


Goodman published his analysis obituaries for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee at Just Security, where he works as co-editor-in-chief.

"As House Manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) remarked on the floor of the Senate last week, 'We can do a lifetime’s work, draft the most wonderful legislation, help our constituents and yet we may be remembered for none of that, but for a single decision, we may be remembered, affecting the course of our country.' He said these words after reflecting on the courage of the late Republican CongressmanThomas Railsback, who worked with a small bipartisan group in the House in 1974 to vote to impeach Nixon," he wrote. "Schiff highlighted Railsback as the congressman had passed away on Jan. 23, the eve of the Trump impeachment trial. The headline for his obituary in the Associated Press read, 'Thomas Railsback, congressman who broke with GOP to back Nixon impeachment, dies.'”

"And so it has been for every obituary of every Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who voted in 1974 for or against the Nixon articles of impeachment. If the reference is not made in the obituary’s headline, it still appears as a central point in the narrative of their lives as that single decision affected the course of history," he explained.

Goodman explained the methodology he used.

"In that summer of 1974, seven Republicans joined the Democrats to vote for at least one article of impeachment, including Toni Railsback (R-IL), Hamilton Fish Jr. (R-NY), Lawrence J. Hogan (R-MD), M. Caldwell Butler (R-VA), William S. Cohen (R-ME), Harold V. Froehlich (R-WI), and Robert McClory (R-IL)," he noted. "Ten Republicans voted against all three articles of impeachment: Edward Hutchinson (R-MI), David Dennis (R-IN), Delbert Latta (R-OH), Trent Lott (R-MI), Joseph Maraziti (R-NJ), Wiley Mayne (R-IA), Carlos Moorhead (R-CA), Charles Sandman (R-NJ), Henry Smith (R-NY), and Charles Wiggins (R-CA)."

Goodman identified nine instances where the impeachment vote appeared in the headline of their obituary:

  • “Former Rep. Joseph Maraziti, 78, Defender of Nixon on Watergate”
  • “Wiley Mayne; House GOP Member Who Voted Not to Impeach Nixon”
  • “Sandman, Nixon Supporter, Dies”
  • “Lawrence J. Hogan Sr., Md. Republican Who Called for Nixon’s impeachment, Dies at 88”
  • “M. Caldwell Butler, a Key Vote Against Nixon, Dies at 89”
  • “R. McClory; Backed Nixon’s Impeachment”
  • “Thomas Railsback, Congressman Who Broke with GOP to Back Nixon Impeachment, Dies.”
  • “Charles Wiggins, 72, Dies; Led Nixon’s Defense in Hearings”