Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quote of the Day: SPSS on Pardons

"Much controversy surrounded Bill Clinton's departure from office. The number and type of pardons issued by Clinton during the waning days of his presidency raised eyebrows among perennial critics and supporters alike. Of course, this episode occasioned difficult and troubling questions of propriety and fairness. Yet it also raised some striking empirical questions. How many pardons do departing presidents typically grant? Fifty? One hundred? Two hundred? For what sorts of crimes or misdeeds have they been granted? What about timing? Are pardons normally issued at the last minute? Or do they take place over the course of a presidency? Does it matter whether the incoming administration is of the same party as the departing administration? Viewed through the lens of political research, Clinton represents one case, one "data point" if you will, in a larger "data set" of forty-three presidents. You can probably think of many general questions about these forty-three cases. To be sure, a little digging may be required, but an analysis of presidential pardons would be well worth the effort." - An SPSS Companion to Political Analysis, Philip H. Pollock III, 2003, Congressional Quarterly Press.

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