Friday, January 22, 2016

Obama: The Final Countdown

It is commonly observed that presidents (or governors) often wait until the "last-minute" to pardon.

If by "last-minute," one means something like Bill Clinton's final-hours-pardon-bonanza, there is little truth in it. Few presidents (maybe 3) have ever done anything even remotely similar to what Clinton did.

If, on the other hand, one means to suggest that presidents tend to grant more pardons and commutations in the 4th and final year of the term - than they did in the previous three - there is value in the observation. Still, it is something to document, not something simply to assert. Our own original data on the matter show most presidential terms have, in fact, featured the highest number of clemency grants in the fourth and final year. These terms include:

Washington II
Jefferson I
Madison I
Madison II
Monroe I
Jackson II
Lincoln I
Grant I
Grant II
Cleveland I
B. Harrison
Cleveland II
Wilson I
Wilson II
Coolidge I
Eisenhower I
Eisenhower II
Reagan II
H.W. Bush
Clinton II
W.Bush I
W. Bush II

In addition, these succession presidents granted the largest number of pardons and commutations in the fourth and final year of their terms:

T. Roosevelt

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