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Ex-Congressman Involved in Nixon Impeachment Hearings is Hospitalized

December 25, 1992

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) _ Former Rep. Peter Rodino, who chaired the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment hearings, was in intensive care Friday following emergency surgery.

Rodino, 83, underwent a 90-minute operation Thursday at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center to clear a blocked artery leading to his brain. Doctors had determined his carotid artery was 90 percent blocked.

He remained in intensive care ″strictly for observation, but he’s quite stable,″ said Sandra Smith, a nursing supervisor at St. Joseph’s.

Rodino, a Democrat, retired in 1988 after serving 40 years in the House. After one unsuccessful try, the raspy-voiced son of an Italian immigrant won election to Congress in 1948. He was re-elected 19 times.

Rodino became Judiciary chairman just months before the panel began impeachment hearings against Nixon in 1974.

For two years following the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, political pressure had been building over charges Nixon had abused his presidential powers to cover up the connection between the break-in and his 1972 re-election effort.

The hearings in 1974 resulted in the first vote in favor of impeachment of a president of the United States in 106 years. Nixon announced his resignation 10 days later. His successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned Nixon for any federal crimes he may have committed.

Rodino has often said his only national claim to fame before the Watergate hearings was sponsoring the bill that made Columbus Day a Monday holiday.

Rodino retired under pressure to step aside so that a black person could represent the 10th District. The district includes Newark, where Rodino was born and still resides.

After leaving Congress, Rodino joined the board of Ryan, Beck and Co., an investment banking concern in West Orange, and opened a law partnership with his son, Peter Rodino III, in East Hanover.

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