Friday, January 2, 2009

Daily News Bombshell: Up to Obama!

The New York Daily News is reporting here and here that a Justice Department official is saying that the fate of Isaac Robert Toussie's pardon application will be up to Barack Obama and that Toussie won't be eligible for a new pardon until May! How this lines up with recent assertions that President Bush has not "cancelled" or "revoked" the pardon is beyond us. But the historical significance of this statement - if it is accurate - can hardly be overestimated.

PardonPower has uncovered about a dozen instances of clemency warrants (pardons and commutations) that have been cancelled/voided/revoked by several different presidents in the past. We have not have the opportunity to uncover the reasons behind these actions, but we have also noticed that, in every instance except one, the president who deep-sixed a warrant turned around and granted clemency to the same individual at a later date. Even the DePuy brothers - whose revocations were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court - were eventually pardoned by the president who stung them (Ulysses S. Grant). Thus, until we have a chance to further investigate what appears to be the sole exception, we are willing to accept the possibility that that person was pardoned by the same president as well.

Now comes this!

Bush claims to have simply stopped-halted-delayed (something!) the clemency process and is going to leave it up to Obama to decide what to do with the Toussie warrant. So, Obama can grant what would likely be seen as an unpopular pardon (for whatever reason) or he can not grant it and seemingly confirm the power of President Bush to do so. Is it going to be great to see how this unfolds, or what? Is it possible that Obama might turn the Toussie pardon into a PR opportunity extraordinaire? The springboard to a new day of pardon reform? Until then, Toussie goes on the Obama Pardon Watch List!


Anonymous said...

I was wondering, why cannot Obama just say "My predecessor was wrong. He pardoned Toussie and could not revoke the pardon."

Sure, a criminal goes free... But that happens every day. And Obama can blame Bush.

Personally, I think that Obama will find that Bush rejected the pardon and order the pardon application be put in of the DOJ's round filing cabinets.

By the way, why hasn't anyone called President Bush an Indian-giver? Aside the fact that the term may well be perjorative, that is what I would have called it when I was 7.

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

EDITOR:I believe the president, while perhaps creating some discomfort for Mr. Holder, has created a marvelous PR opportunity for Mr. Obama. It would be something to see Obama use as an opportunity to reform the clemency process. Best,

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