Tuesday, August 23, 2016

FLASHBACK: Toobin on Libby, the Pardon Power

Jeffrey Toobin's preference for dramatic error over scholarship and expertise is ... well ... a thing:

Wolf Blitzer asked “senior legal analyst” Toobin if George W. Bush could do “something sort of a pardon” for Scooter Libby, perhaps “suspending” or “shortening the sentence?” Amazingly, Toobin responded:
Well, I have to say, maybe there are some constitutional experts out there who will contradict me, but I don't think the president has that authority. I think it's an all or nothing proposition. He can pardon "Scooter" Libby and end the case against him today. But other than that, he has no authority, as I understand it, to get involved in the process at all. THE SITUATION ROOM, June 14, 2007.
Read that again! "There may be some people with expertise on this matter, who know more than I ever will - on this topic - but I am Jeffrey Toobin and I think what I think is what really matters most! Furthermore, my view is really dramatic." The cynic might call this approach a bit "snotty."

Two editorials, one at the Washington Post (William Otis, "Neither Prison Nor Pardon: Justice in the Libby Case Lies With Bush's Third Option." June 7, 2007) and the other at National Review (P.S. Ruckman, Jr. "Respite for Scooter." June 14, 2007), had it right. It was not an either/or situation for the President at all. Bush had a range of choices and all of them involved the constitutional use of the pardon power.

Indeed, Bush did not pardon Libby. He simply commuted the 30-month prison sentence, leaving the remaining portion of the sentence intact.

A “totally shocked” Toobin told CNN, “Maybe I'm just naive.” ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES, “No Prison For Libby.” July 2, 2007.

Yeah, maybe.

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