Monday, March 10, 2008

Context: Clemency Terminology

I have added a brief lexicon of terms related to state and federal clemency, on the right side of this blog, in the yellow box, toward the bottom. These terms are used throughout the posts on this blog. Hopefully, the definitions provided will be useful in helping readers understand some of the technicalities of clemency and my critique of clemency discussions.

Last year, for example, I was one of only two persons who consistently reminded media (or, the media that would listen!) that President Bush had several (as in at least seven) options with regard to the pardon power, all of which would have allowed him to keep Scooter Libby out of prison. Most of the media, however, focused on the more dramatic (although entirely inaccurate) scenario where Bush would have to either pardon Libby or allow him to go to prison. My National Review piece (here) informed readers that Bush could have just as easily used the respite power. William Otis's Washington Post piece happened to focus on a commutation of sentence (here). As a result, no small percentage of the "controversy" surrounding Bush's decision was the result of the tunnel vision, or self-imposed blinders, in media reporting.

In sum, if you want to stay on the cuttting edge, stay in touch with this blog.

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