Saturday, July 26, 2008

More on Stars and Pardons

John Jeansonne at has written a piece on athletics, fame, celebrity and pardons. Along the way, he writes:
That [Marion] Jones is famous is "a double-edged sword," said P.S. Ruckman, a political science professor at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., who has reviewed all of history's presidential pardons. "It doesn't get a pardon but it does get you access."

Ruckman, who created the Pardon Power blog and keeps his own "presidential pardon watch list," cited boxer John L. Sullivan's coziness with Theodore Roosevelt as "probably the first case of this intersection of pardons and sports and celebrity."

... A pardon wouldn't restore Jones' medals or track records any more than Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice conviction could overturn Libby's disbarment. "One of the limitations of the pardon power," Ruckman said, "is that it will not trump the qualifications or standards of a profession."

... Such rough justice could be part of Logan's advertising campaign for his sport's commitment to fight doping. Regardless, the idea that a president somehow would benefit by showing a fallen athletic star mercy -- particularly at a time when a generous number of sports personalities find themselves at odds with the law -- strikes Ruckman as suspect."I think the culture, at least since the '60s," he said, "is pretty get-tough on crime, and presidents will get more criticism than praise for granting a pardon. If you wrote an essay on famous popular pardons, it would be a short essay."
See the full version of this fun and interesting article here.

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