Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ABC News on Pardons

ABC News is featuing an article which at least attempts to go beyond the current norm. It notes, for example, that "department guidelines" for pardon requests "are not binding on the president who retains the authority under the Constitution to pardon someone who has not even applied for reprieve." George Lardner, who is writing a history of the pardon power, is quoted as saying, "The pardon program at DOJ has been in disarray a long time." Doug Berman, a sentencing expert, says:
"Going through channels at the Department of Justice often is creating a place where your application goes to die ... The creation of formalized regulations sends a signal, 'hey unless you jump through these hoops you don't get to play the game.' It is neither justified nor in keeping with the framer's vision of giving the president sole power."
As for the seemingly inevitable topic of "preemptive pardons," Lardner correctly notes, "The preemptive pardon has been used in history, but if Bush sticks to his pasty stingy approach to pardons, he won't do it." Professor Berman agrees that "the Constitution allows a preemptive pardon." See ABC story here.

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