Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Toobin: Still the Worst of the Worst

When Jeffrey Toobin last stepped on the public stage re the pardon power, he was parroting the ignorant line that President Bush would have to grant a pardon to Scooter Libby, or Libby would go to jail. He seemed to have no idea what a commutation of sentence was, or a respite. It was a dramatically pathetic display for such a high profile "legal expert."

Now, Toobin is back, suggesting President Obama's "orderly mind" - and the fact that he is a "consummate rationalist" - is the cause of his disastrous record in the matter of clemency - the foolish premise being that pardons are outside of the world of separation of powers and checks and balances ... you know ... the Constitutional order and what not.

No, to Toobin, a merciless administration is a really smart one.

"Pardons," Toobin writes, "rely exclusively on the whim of the grantor." If, by that, he means, it is an executive power, then sure. Just like legislation relies exclusively on the whim of the legislature. And judicial review relies on the whim of courts. And ... you get the idea.

But, worse, Toobin carpet bombs his readers with stupidity when he fails to recognize the fact that there is a Department of Justice, an Office of the Pardon Attorney, the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the Deputy Attorney General, judges and U.S. Attorneys who vet clemency applications. Presidents are not sitting in bed late at night, reading thousands of applications, one a time, by candlelight, then flipping a coin and making decisions on how they feel right before they dose off. Maybe Toobin does not know what the word "whim" means.

Toobin writes, "his Presidential power is descended from the concept known in Great Britain as the royal prerogative of mercy"- which is great stuff for Hallmark greeting cards. But what he needs to do is pick up the Federalist papers and see Alexander Hamilton's discussion of the matter. The Founding Fathers developed an orderly Republic featuring a very rational system of checks and balances because they assumed judges and legislators are not perfect - Toobin may disagree. Regardless, presidents are not kings. We elect them. We override their vetoes. We cut off their funding. And we can impeach them to boot.

Toobin writes: "A commutation allows a convict to leave prison at a designated date." Wrong. It reduces the severity of a sentence. Toobin should know that. Scooter Libby never served a day in prison but received a commutation of sentence.

Toobin writes: "In seven years, Obama has now issued ... only sixty-one pardons." Wrong. Obama has granted 66 pardons.

Toobin writes: "All Presidents and governors (who also have pardon power) are haunted by the possibility that they might release someone who goes on to commit horrible crimes. (Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas pardoned several people who did just that.)"

Gaaawwwd ! While encouraging the President to pardon, Toobin unwittingly spreads the virus that has persistently discouraged pardoning: stupid commentary. Huckabee did not pardon Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons has never been pardoned by anyone. Further, Clemmons was released via the decision of a parole board, not a pardon. Beat up on them, Mr. Toobin. Show off. Look up their names.

When it comes to bad commentary about pardons, Jeffrey Toobin is hard to beat. See this train wreck here.

No comments:

blogger templates | Make Money Online