The dozen-plus examples we have brought to light - after only casual research on this particular issue and careful qualification - may very well be disheartening to some. But they cannot (or should not) be lightly dismissed as mere "argument." Furthermore, given what we have learned from about 15 years of researching pardons, we are supremely confident, without looking an inch further, that there are additional examples some of which could only be revealed - if at all - by thousands of FOIA requests of individual pardon applications. Put another way: if you think discovering a cancelled clemency warrant is an easy thing, then quit your full time job for month, go searching for one and see what you come up with.
But Marshall also draws attention to an exchange between Rep. Hostettler (R) and former U.S. Pardon Attorney, Margaret Colgate Love in 2001 congressional hearings. Love said:
No, once the pardon warrant is signed, that is the public act that accomplishes the clemency action. I believe that Supreme Court case law has made it pretty clear that a pardon is a public act, and so all that business about the deeds and delivery, I think, has pretty much has been overtaken by the Biddle case; that it is a public act and once a warrant is signed ...Of course, all of the examples we have noted (in previous posts) have involved signed warrants. But, for some, the examples are "too old," something like "ancient history," the residue of an antique roadshow long rendered obsolete by more "modern" precedent. Yes. Yes. We understand. It is part of an "argument." So, let's let the argument meet more data.
Here and here are two images of a clemency warrant. Note that is it dated December 20, 1972. Note also that it grants a "full and unconditional pardon" (you know, just like what Mr. Toussie got). Not also that this is an individual warrant (not one of those grossly impersonal "master warrant" affairs like Toussie's name is mentioned on). Note also that it is signed and has the presidential seal affixed. Toussie doesn't even have all of that going for him! Finally note, the word VOID is scribbled all over it (not by our hand by the way).
Is this pardon valid?
"But," says the lawyer, "what is the story? What are the circumstances? What else is there to know" No. No. No. Before we switch into lawyer mode, and "argue," let's apply our clearly stated theory to the facts. The pictures are not lying. If the facts disturb the theory too much, then the intelligent thing to do would be to 1) clarify it, 2) modify it or 3) trash it. But we don't really see the need to "argue" about anything, not at this point. We are not defending the delivery/acceptance approach at all. But we do realize that our questions could be more casually dismissed if we were pushed into that "argument." Suggestion: Let's agree to develop a sound theory of pardon validation. Let's start right here, with this warrant. Save the "arguments."
Finally, from a research standpoint (lawyers looking for "arguments" can turn off their computers here), it is worth nothing that the warrant provided here does not appear in the "official" CD set of clemency warrants offered by the Department of Justice. It was obtained by a FOIA request for the individual applicant's file. Does this warrant prove that a single voided warrant ever again appeared in the thousands of thousands of application files since 1972? No, it does not. But, as researchers, who have walked this walk for some time now, we are OK following both our intuition and our reason on that point too.