Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Harvard: Spin, Crash and Burn

Over at the NiewmanWatchdog.Org (somehow associated with Foundation for Journalism at Harvard), there is a wildly entertaining / train wreck piece on the pardon power composed by Dan Froomkin, a "deputy editor." PardonPower commentary appears in red:
A president’s power to pardon is vested in Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, which says “he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” So he can pardon anyone (False. He cannot pardon those convicted of state offenses), even conceivably himself (Highly doubtful, but certainly no consensus on this. Pure conjecture by the author for purposes of shocking ignorant readers). It’s a power that cannot be taken away or even limited (It is already limited, by the Constitution. The ramifications of pardons have also been limited by the federal courts. For example, money cannot be retrieved from the federal treasury, even if one is pardoned), and there’s no way to take a pardon back once it's granted (False. President Grant revoked some of Andrew Johnson's pardons and the federal courts upheld his decisions. That is exactly why George W. Bush considered revoking the pardon of Marc Rich. The ultimate decision not to do so, however, was not based on any notion that Bush did not have the power to do so. In addition, the federal courts have ruled that pardons can be voided if there is a sense that the executive was deceived. And, finally, pardons have also been revoked if when attached conditions were violated). But if there aren’t any legal limits, are there moral ones? (Morals and politics? Do we want to start that?) The time for a national conversation on such issues is before pardons are issued, not after. (Yes, a point PardonPower made here).
See the all the fun here.

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