Friday, November 19, 2010
So far, President Obama has had 3,482 new applications for pardons and commutations of sentence and over 3,000 applications were pending at the beginning of fiscal year (2010). But the National media have given much more attention to the quirky names of pardoned turkeys.
On the other hand, the Obama administration has "closed" over 700 applications "without presidential action" and fought doggedly in the court system - despite campaign rhetoric re "transparency" in government - to prevent George Lardner from obtaining minimal information regarding clemency applicants under the Freedom of Information Act. But, of course, what all we really need to know is whether or not pardoned turkeys will be retired to Disney or George Washington's home.
President Obama wisely signed the legislation but now, of course, he has the opportunity (and arguably the duty) to employ the pardon power in order to show his concern for those persons who have actually been imprisoned under the laws he so passionately (and sincerely?) attacked. There is no reason in this world why any federal prison anywhere should be detaining a single first-time, non-violent offender of the previous laws who has served more than a single day beyond the 18-to-1 mark. Can we just, for a moment, forget about the turkeys?
* This post has been corrected from a previous version. See comments section.