“We’d like to see him being a lot more generous and actively granting clemency, but it doesn’t seem to be a high priority of this administration at all ... Obviously, there are a lot of political decisions that go into clemency decisions, particularly in an election year.”The article also notes PardonPower's observation that Obama is well on his way to being the slowest president in history to exercise the pardon power. Only Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and George Washington have been slower.
Gerstein writes that Ohio State University professor and "clemency advocate" Doug Berman is trying to see a silver lining. Berman says he thinks Obama might grant some pardons and commutations during the holiday season. Indeed, one out of every two acts of clemency over the last 39 years have been granted in the month of December. Says Berman:
“Kudos to the president for acting, because simply not acting and giving the impression this is going into some black box is actually worse ... “Wishfully thinking, I would hypothesize that this is a precursor to some future grants. ... Obama has been disappointing so far in that he has sent signals he’s going to do nothing or, as of now, deny, but I’m cautiously hopeful.”See Gerstein's report at Politico.com here.