Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Justice: Perk, or Equal Right?

In this San Francisco Chronicle editorial, Deborah J. Saunders shares her impressions of President Obama's non-use of the pardon power. President Obama has not granted a single pardon or commutation of sentence and, as a result, is among history's slowest presidents. In an important passage, Saunders writes:
This is where a number of readers no doubt are talking back to the paper and saying that it's just fine with them if Obama keeps career criminals behind bars, thank you very much.

Of course, the pardon doesn't free anyone. It is a reward for reformed offenders who, after serving their sentences, have led exemplary lives and want a clean criminal slate so that they can vote or look for a job without revealing their past.
What might explain the gap between Obama's campaign rhetoric of "hope and change" and his mirror imaging of the Clinton/Bush administrations' routine of neglect?
Look at Obama's choice for attorney general, Eric Holder. When Holder worked for the Clinton administration, Ruckman noted, "he wouldn't take the time, energy or effort to make it a regular feature of government."

"But he would, if you will, make an effort in wildly controversial situations." Such as Holder's "neutral leaning positive" recommendation for the pardon sought by fugitive gazillionaire Marc Rich and his role in the 1999 Clinton pardons of 16 Puerto Rico independence terrorists.

See full editorialhere.

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