Friday, August 25, 2017

Trump's First Pardon Stunt.

President Donald Trump has granted the first presidential pardon of his term, almost 400 days earlier than President Obama's first. Still the pardon of former Arizona lawman / political ally Joe Arpaio is hardly a signal that Trump takes the pardon power seriously, or that we can expect clemency applications to start escaping the death grip of the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the Department of Justice.

Hundreds of persons have applied for clemency and have waited for years, some for 10 or 15. Imagine how demoralized they must feel now. Now, more gasoline will be poured on the classic misconception that clemency is only for famous persons, rich people, political supporters, insiders, the "connected." It is, of course, a false narrative, but a powerful one. One that defames a wonderful check and balance and, in some instances, discourages politicians from doing anything. They err on the side of caution (they think) by showing mercy to no one, or to as few as possible.

The Founding Fathers would be so ashamed.


I'm Just Sayin' said...

How many past presidents have pardoned someone during their first year in office?

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

EDITOR : Most. The waiting and waiting is a relatively new gig.

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

EDITOR : Most. The waiting and waiting is a relatively new gig.

Matt Taylor said...

My question is one of the legal ramifications of accepting this. I was under the impression that acknowledging guilt was a requirement to receive the pardon. Yet Arpaio is continuing to request donations to his legal defense fund. How exactly is he planning on continuing to appeal the case he has effectively acknowledged is accurate and he is guilty of the offense.

Anonymous said...

The impact is that the case is moot unless Arapaio actually rejects the pardon. And the only case I am aware of is ancient - pre Civil War. I'd expect the court of appeal would either toss the case or return it to the district court to do so.

BLT31 said...

Actually we have no problem with this pardon on a misdemeanor conviction. The judge denied Sheriff Arpaio his request for a jury by his peers and the judge, an Obama appointee denied this. Violation of the Constitution........Yes! Then to rub salt into the "matter" (a la Loretta Lynch) the judge became the jury. How convenient.

In the end the Sheriff would have had this conviction over turned.

Jesse Costales said...

Trump should have spent more time getting rescue boat ready for Harvey than pardoning crony Joe.

Nick Hentoff said...

Haven't been able to find a single article that quotes or links to the actual Arpaio pardon text. What is the scope of the pardon. Is it just for the criminal contempt conviction or does it pardon Arpaio for any crime arising out of the originl order or the civil cnntempt hearing (such as perjury or obstruction of justice)?

Steve Garcia said...

I am not a lawyer (engineer), but the linked blog post says:
"In Schick v. Reed, 419 U.S. 256, 266 (1974), the Supreme Court upheld the power of the President to issue a conditional commutation, relying on an expansive interpretation of the pardon authority:

"...[T]he language of that [pardon] clause itself, and . . . the unbroken practice since 1790 compels the conclusion that the power flows from the Constitution alone, not from any legislative enactments, and that it cannot be modified, abridged, or diminished by the Congress..."

Of course, all due respect to the Supreme Court, but the wording of the Pardon Clause does not in its clear language prohibit Congress or the Courts from abridging the Pardon Power. If the power were absolute, such a prohibition would have been inserted. In the lack thereof, then, it can clearly be argued that no such prohibition exists. Whether it is a winning argument or not, remains to be seen (if it is ever even addressed in the courts.)

Point 1: Several, if not many, of the Executive Branches powers have been abridged over the now many decades of our history. If Congress or the courts abridge some Executive Branch powers - ones that are not specifically prohibited from modification or limiting - then does that not allow, within the Constitution, abridging other Presidential powers which lack prohibitions on limitations? Why is the Pardon power the only absolute power?

Point 2: The Bill of Rights specifically tells the Federal government that certain RIGHTS cannot be abridged. Rights, powers, both are very similar in intent in the Constitution. If the Founding Fathers decided in one case to specifically prohibit, and in another clause NOT prohibit, is that not an indication that such prohibitions do not exist?

Point 3: All practices are "unbroken" - until they are broken the first time. Such should never be an argument that breaking a practice should never, EVER be done.

I WAS expecting to see such a prohibition on the other branches being allowed to limit the Pardon power. But it is simply not there in the text.

If and when Trump decides to pardon himself, will "unbroken practice" be invoked to allow such a travesty? Not from what I read in Federalist #74 and #69.

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