The Times argues clemency is "an indispensable check on the injustices of the legal system and as a means of demonstrating forgiveness where it is called for" and suggests that it was "once used freely." Today, however, politicians compete "to see who can be toughest on crime" and "pardons of powerful, well-connected individuals like Marc Rich, by Bill Clinton, and Lewis Libby, by George W. Bush, have only increased cynicism about the process." [our general cynicism about clemency reporting thus being increased, as Mr. Libby was not pardoned]. Finally, says the Times, "no one seems to know why some requests are granted and others denied" and that:
... it is disheartening that the Obama administration continues to resist calls to remove the current head of the pardon office, Ronald L. Rodgers, despite a finding by the Justice Department’s inspector general that in 2008, Mr. Rodgers misrepresented material information in recommending that the president deny a petition for clemency.What we find to be the most striking thing about the editorial is the lack of focus on the person who wields the pardon power, the president himself, Barack Obama. After a world of rhetoric about "hope and change" and awkward (if not inappropriate and/or counter productive) public statements re the Jena Five, Trayvon Martin, Genarlow Wilson and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., what has President Obama actually done to address the injustices that he perceives in our system of justice? How has President Obama - so famous for radical expansions of executive power - used the single, unilateral, constitutional power available to him to document his concern? The answer is that President Obama is (and has been) missing in action. By comparison, George W. Bush was a criminal-coddling lefty.
Franklin D. Roosevelt granted more pardons in the three days following the Normandy Invasion - when, presumably, he was quite "busy" - than President Obama granted in his first four years in office. Consequently, there isn't too much reason to single-out Tough on Crime mentalities, Willie Hortonites, the U.S. Pardon Attorney, Attorney General Holder, or (God help us!) the "administration." When all is said and done, the problem is man behind the neglect, the president, Barack Obama. See full editorial here.