Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saunders: Pardon Gridlock (of One)

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Debra J. Saunders notes that while President Obama "likes to complain about gridlock in Washington and blame Republicans for keeping him from doing his job," on the matter of pardons, he has "produced his own gridlock of one."

As the President's first term comes to an end, he has granted a mere 22 pardons and one commutation of sentence - a record of stinginess matched by the likes of John Adams!  This, despite the fact that "his 2008 campaign called for a review of federal mandatory minimum sentences to reduce the number of needlessly warehoused nonviolent drug offenders." Says Saunders:
Somehow the senator who opposed the waterboarding of self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has become the president who hasn't lifted a finger to correct the tortured punishment meted out to Clarence Aaron, when the 23-year-old was sentenced to life without parole for a first-time nonviolent drug offense in 1993 in Alabama. Ditto other victims of draconian federal mandatory minimum-sentencing law. 
What is the primary reason for this fiasco of neglect? Saunders quotes the Editor of this blog:
"I personally think it all started with the choice of Eric Holder (as attorney general). He brought more baggage to the office with respect to pardons than anyone else in history." 
Read the entire editorial here. See additional commentary by Saunders re Aaron and the current U.S. Pardon Attorney here.

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