Showing posts with label Nixon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nixon. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Barbour = The Problem, Not the Power

In honor of Haley Barbour's irresponsible behavior, we repost this piece, formerly entitled, "The Conservative Case for the Pardon Power."

Right On Crime (added to our blog listing) is a new site which claims to focus on "Conservative" views of the criminal justice system. In particular, it takes an interest in reducing crime, reducing the costs of criminal justice, reforming past offenders, restoring victims and protecting communities. In its Statement of Principles, the site notes that "Conservatives are known for being tough on crime," but argues it is also vital to achieve "a cost-effective system that protects citizens, restores victims, and reforms wrongdoers." In addition:
The corrections system should emphasize public safety, personal responsibility, work, restitution, community service, and treatment—both in probation and parole, which supervise most offenders, and in prisons. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through harnessing the power of families, charities, faith-based groups, and communities.
With these very concerns (and others) in mind, here are some reasons why Conservatives should favor well-articulated clemency policies which 1) regularize the process and minimize the tendency toward last-minute blitzes 2) restore a proper balance between the branches of government 3) address the specific concerns of Conservatives and 4) re-educate the American public as to the significance of the pardon power:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ProPublica: History of Pardons

The ProPublica web page has a feature entitled "Timeline: A History of Pardons" (linked here). We have informed ProPublica of the following errors / suggestions:

1. If the page intends to say George Washington's first pardon was granted in 1794, that is incorrect. The first known Washington clemency warrant was signed in 1791. If the intent is to imply the first Whiskey Rebel pardon was granted in 1794, that is also incorrect. The first of that batch was granted in 1797.

2. U.S. v. Wilson should be dated 1833, not 1832.

3. Arthur O'Bryan was pardoned by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, not 1864.

4. Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set the leg of a fleeing John Wilkes Booth, and lied about his relationship with Booth, was pardoned in 1869, not 1868. And his pardon was not based on the grounds of innocence. This is noteworthy because the Mudd family has, for a long, long time now, tried to have his name cleared via a pardon based on an assertion of innocence.

5. It is also worthy of note that Spengler and Arnold (Lincoln assassination conspirators) were pardoned just before Andrew Johnson left office, again, in 1869, not 1868.

6. Andrew Johnson's post-Civil War decisions are best described as amnesties, not pardons.

7. Charles W. Morse was not pardoned. His prison sentence was commuted by President Taft. Furthermore, the commutation of sentence was granted in January of 1912, not 1908.

8. The ruling in Biddle is best summarize as follows: Pardons are not private acts of grace but are, instead, best thought of as the by-product of a constitutional scheme which aims to determine what is in the best interest of the public. Consequently, the thoughts, desires and wishes of the recipient are irrelevant.

9. Richard Nixon granted Jimmy Hoffa a conditional commutation of sentence, not a presidential pardon. The condition was, of course, challenged in federal court, until Hoffa had the poor taste to disappear.

11. Jimmy Carter granted an amnesty to Vietnam War era offenders.

12. George H.W. Bush did not pardon Orlando Bosch.

13. Readers should be aware that the data - which originate from the Department of Justice - are actually arranged by fiscal year, as opposed to calendar year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greenwald, Dramatist Extraordinaire!

It is reported that Glenn Greenwald's new book, entitled, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, argues:
the Nixon pardon set a precedent that ushered in an era of “elite immunity,” a two-tiered legal system that exempts the rich and powerful from the laws applied to other Americans. The legacy of the pardon, Greenwald writes, is that "the United States has become a nation that does not apply the rule of law to its elite class."
We certainly look forward to the data which support that claim, as well as these:
Nowadays, with only rare exceptions, each time top members of the nation’s political class are caught committing a crime, the same reasons are hauled out to get them off the hook.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Obama: The No Commutation of Sentence President

Only George W. Bush waited longer than President Obama to grant the first act of clemency in his term. To date, Obama has granted a paltry 17 presidential pardons (largely restoring the civil rights of persons who committed minor offenses decades ago) and zero commutations of sentence.

President              Days before First Commutation of Sentence
-----------              ---------------------------------------------------------
Obama                1,004 ... and counting
Clinton                  672
Reagan                  317
Eisenhower           282
Nixon                    282
H.W. Bush             206
Carter                    82
Ford (s)                  61
Truman (s)             54
Johnson (s)            30
Kennedy                 19

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pardons: The Unimportant Topic that Makes / Breaks Candidates

We often receive e-mails and comments which essentially make the same point: Who cares about pardons? There are so many other important things about which to be concerned. Why should anyone bother so much about the circumstances of criminals? 

Presidential election campaigns must be very odd things for persons of this mindset to behold. Consider the last go-round, in 2008:

Hillary Clinton was asked about her husband's questionable pardons when it was observed that several recipients were making donations to her campaign. When she badgered Barack Obama about his relationship with Bill Ayers, in a Nationally televised debate, Obama bluntly reminded Mrs. Clinton that her husband pardoned several of Ayers' associates in the Weather Underground. Obama was asked whether or not he would consider a pardon for Tony Rezko. Rudolph Giuliani was asked if he would pardon Bernard Kerik. Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was asked if she would pardon Senator Ted Stevens. Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said he was not to keen on the idea of a pardon for Jonathan Pollard. Every Republican candidate was asked, during the debates, how they felt about a potential pardon for Scooter Libby. And every Democratic candidate had something to say about the eventual commutation of sentence he received from George W. Bush. Mitt Romney downright bragged about the fact that he never granted pardons. Mike Huckabee was roundly criticized for granting too many.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Presidents, Pardons and Athletes

In honor of Barry Bonds, a repost from July of 2008:

I recently chatted with an enthusiastic and well-informed reporter about professional athletes and the pardon power. The interview was, of course, prompted by speculation regarding baseball's Roger Clemens (who has not been convicted of anything) and former track and field star Marion Jones (who received a 6-month sentence for lying to federal investigators). There is also a long-standing call for the pardon of deceased boxer Jack Johnson (who was charged with violating the Mann Act). The discussion gave me a chance to reflect on my memories of athletes and the pardon power. Having personally gone through the clemency warrants of thousands of individuals from 1789 to 2001, word by word, those memories were actually more distinct than I might have guessed.

Athletic prowess seemed to first show up in warrants in the 1800s. My memory is that they involved private foot-races, where individuals placed bets, or illegal fights of some sort. In some instances such events were actually rigged, so fraud was piled on top of gambling in prosecutions. My memory is also that these offenses were generally committed in the District of the Columbia, where the president exercises the pardon power much like a state governor.

The first appearance of more wide-scale, organized athletic events that I recall was during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt. It stood out in my mind because Roosevelt was a boxing fan and the pardons were for a couple of boxers. Roosevelt also pardoned John L. Lennon, the nephew of boxing legend John L. Sullivan (who lobbied for the grant personally and without even an ounce of criticism from the media). I am not certain if that is a comment on Roosevelt, Sullivan or the media of the day.

Since the good old days, the stories of numerous athletes have appeared in clemency applications and warrants. Racing greats Junior Johnson (NASCAR legend) and Rick Hendrick (the "King of NASCAR") have received presidential pardons. Stunt pilot Laura H. Ingalls tried to secure a pardon for years, but never succeeded. She had been attached to the Nazis, so it was a tough sell. Joe Don Looney was a standout at the University of Oklahoma and an interesting character in the National Football league. He was pardoned for drug possession. Charles "Tex" Harrison was an All-American at North Carolina Central University and became a Harlem Globetrotter. Eventually he became the coach of the Globetrotters. This blog has also reported on former Kansas City Royals star Willie Mays Aikens who had pardon applications declined by both Clinton and Bush. Of course, there are others that are around the edges of the world of athletics - George Steinbrenner (who made illegal contributions to the campaign of Richard Nixon), Jimmy "the Greek" (pardoned by Gerald Ford), etc.

Do professional athletes enjoy any kind of "advantage" in the pardon process? Our data on pardons are so thin, it is not possible to render anything close to a scientific answer. But it would seem reasonable enough to theorize (if not assume) that professional athletes enjoy - if anything - the potential "advantage" of access. It is an advantage, of course, that is shared with all persons who are public figures. Granted, fame can be a double-edged sword in this circumstance. It can bring greater scrutiny and greater criticism.

Nonetheless, it would probably be easier for Roger Clemens or filmmaker Ken Burns (who supports the pardon for Jack Johnson) to walk into the White House, or the office of anyone else in the administration, than it would be for any of the seemingly nameless, faceless thousands that have applications waiting in the Office of the Pardon Attorney. And, if the Clinton pardon scandals taught us anything at all, it is that access can be terribly important. It does not necessarily determine the outcome (there were some who had access who failed), because there are certainly other constraints (both formal and informal). But it is apparent that access can, in some circumstances, win the day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Granting the First Commutation of Sentence

Over the last 12 presidencies, there has been an average of 329 days between inauguration and the granting of the first commutation of sentence. This number is, of course, heavily skewed by the data for the administration of George W. Bush - the slowest president in American history to grant any form of clemency. Excluding that administration, the number falls all of the way to 249. Regardless, the delay in the Obama administration - despite record numbers of applications for commutation of sentence - is more than twice the average for these recent administrations.

President
Assumed Office
Date of First Commutation of Sentence
Number of Days Till
First Commutation
Truman
4/12/45
6/5/45
54
Eisenhower
1/20/53
10/29/53
282
Kennedy
1/20/61
2/8/61
19
Johnson
11/22/63
12/22/63
30
Nixon
1/20/69
10/29/69
282
Ford
8/9/74
10/9/74
61
Carter
1/20/77
4/14/77
84
Reagan
1/20/81
12/3/81
317
H.W. Bush
1/20/89
8/14/89
206
Clinton
1/20/93
11/23/94
672
W. Bush
1/20/01
5/20/04
1216
Obama
1/20/09
- - -
735 and counting …

* These data represent the result of a preliminary run - at the request of media - through an original data set on presidential pardons from 1789 to 2011. The author will edit / amend / correct the data after additional research, should the need arise.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Decline in Christmas Clemency?

In December of 1999, an article in Christian Science Monitor suggested that, in recent years, there has been a decline in "Christmas Clemency." The article was generally based on the fact that President Clinton had gone a couple of Decembers without granting any pardons or commutations of sentence. Otherwise, no data were presented on the topic.

Using our own original data, we have calculated the total number of December pardons and commutations of sentence, by year and administration, from 1945 (Truman) to 2010 (Obama). Click on the image to the left.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Conservative Case for the Pardon Power

Right On Crime (added to our blog listing) is a new site which claims to focus on "Conservative" views of the criminal justice system. In particular, it takes an interest in reducing crime, reducing the costs of criminal justice, reforming past offenders, restoring victims and protecting communities. In its Statement of Principles, the site notes that "Conservatives are known for being tough on crime," but argues it is also vital to achieve "a cost-effective system that protects citizens, restores victims, and reforms wrongdoers." In addition:
The corrections system should emphasize public safety, personal responsibility, work, restitution, community service, and treatment—both in probation and parole, which supervise most offenders, and in prisons. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through harnessing the power of families, charities, faith-based groups, and communities.
With these very concerns (and others) in mind, here are some reasons why Conservatives should favor well-articulated clemency policies which 1) regularize the process and minimize the tendency toward last-minute blitzes 2) restore a proper balance between the branches of government 3) address the specific concerns of Conservatives and 4) re-educate the American public as to the significance of the pardon power:

Reason 1: The pardon power is explicitly vested in the President of the United States by Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. It is not derived from a so-called "elastic clause" or inferred from penumbras emanating from the Bill of Rights. The pardon power is not the result of a "test" imposed by judicial fiat, or a goal-oriented construction of the traditions and conscience of the people, or tortured divination of what is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. It is a power explicitly granted and as firmly entrenched in the Constitution as the provisions creating a House and Senate and the federal judiciary.

Reason 2: In addition to being an explicit feature of our Constitution, the Founding Fathers made a conscious effort to emphasize the importance of this power. Federalist 74 (authored by Alexander Hamilton, who argued for the pardon power in his first speech at the Constitutional Convention) notes that pardons are a logical by-product of "humanity and good policy." Why? Because "the criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity." The cure for this tendency? "Easy access" (yes, you read that right), "easy access" to "exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt." Otherwise, says Federalist 74, "justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel."

Reason 3: The pardon power is not a fetish of ancient monarchs that accidentally crept its way into the Constitution. It is an important part of our system of checks and balances. Although political scientists have long recognized that our government more accurately features "shared" powers (as opposed to truly "separated" powers), the fact of the matter is that each branch has its unassailable weapon in the system of checks and balances. The Supreme Court has judicial review. Congress has the spending power. The president has the pardon power. For centuries, pardons have made up for the lack of flexibility in laws, anticipating - long before Congress - such considerations as reformation and rehabilitation, the juvenile status of offenders, the possibility of insanity, the considerable costs of incarceration, degrees of guilt in relation to murder, etc. Of course, pardons have also been used to blunt the impact of imperfect decision making in the judicial branch. To be sure, Conservative Presidents - for whatever reason - can neglect this power. But they do so at a cost to our political system and in direct contradiction to the intent of the Founding Fathers.

Reason 4: Conservatives have long recognized the importance of incentives, even in the arena of crime and criminal justice. But the public (and, evidently, most in the news media) doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that the typical (as in well over 95 percent) recipient of a presidential (or gubernatorial) pardon, today (and for the last several decades), is someone who has already served their time (if there was any time to serve), has taken care of all associated fines and penalties, and has integrated back into the community as a law-abiding citizen. That is to say, presidential pardons are not springing hardened professional gangland criminals from our prisons and tossing them into the streets, or overturning the judgement of judges and juries. The impact of pardons is to simply restore the civil rights of applicants. The pardon allows them to vote again, serve on a jury, run for public office, own a hunting rifle, etc. The problem is, today, the typical presidential pardon is also granted more than two decades after the offense, when the applicant is probably in his/her 60's or 70's. This, in itself, prompts many to ask, "Why bother? Why does a person even want a pardon?" It is clear that presidential pardons, if granted on a more regular basis, and in a more relevant manner, could provide powerful incentives for hopeful recipients to demonstrate just the kind of reform Conservatives (and every American) should desire.

Reason 5: "Controversial" acts of clemency get the lion's share of attention from the news media, and reasonably so. But this kind of attention invariably warps the public's general perception of pardons and, to some extent, the perceptions of politicians (who tend to view pardons as huge political risks requiring some grand expenditure of political capital). But Conservatives should give a long hard look at recent pardon "controversies." Yes, Democratic presidents have dropped some stink bombs along the way. But, on the Republican side, there is Richard Nixon, the Iran-Contra figures, Scooter Libby, etc. These pardons have all had a distinct "political" feel to them. Indeed, along the way, Republicans frequently expressed concern that Democrats were hunting for "show trials" and "criminalizing" policy differences. If there is even the slightest element of truth to these claims, we must seriously ask: Where would this country be, today, without the pardon power?

Reason 6: Conservatives and Liberals may differ as to the effectiveness of the War on Drugs, but no one doubts that it has failed to accomplish all that was hoped for and that it is very costly. Recently, Democrats and Republicans rolled back the 100 to 1 disparity in crack cocaine sentencing, reducing the ratio to 18 to 1. While the criminal justice system is likely to be more fair, as a result, even the most basic notions of justice (Conservative or Liberal) demand that we now consider the circumstances of those who were convicted under the previous legislation (almost 30,000 inmates). Congress has probably done all that it is going to do in this matter. It is the president who should now consider the careful, systematic use of the pardon power (or, more specifically, commutations of sentence) in individual cases - at a minimum - for first time, non-violent offenders who have already served considerable sentences and show evidence of rehabilitation (just as an example). In addition to approximating fairness, such use of the pardon power could save tax payers millions of dollars.

Reason 7: In recent years, some Conservatives have rethought their position on the death penalty. On the surface, it does seem quite odd that an ideology which seems to instinctively distrust the government would express such enthusiastic support for a process like capital punishment. Conservatives loath the growth of government and the expansion of its power. Catch phrases like "the nanny state" and "over-criminalization" are often employed by Conservative columnists. Or, in the very words of Right on Crime:
Thousands of harmless activities are now classified as crimes in the United States. These are not typical common law crimes such as murder, rape, or theft. Instead they encompass a series of business activities such as importing orchids without the proper paperwork, shipping lobster tails in plastic bags, and even failing to return a library book. There are over 4,000 existing federal criminal laws. (The exact number of laws is unknown because the attorneys at Congressional Research Service who were assigned to count them ran out of resources before they could complete the herculean task.)

In addition to the profusion of federal statutory crimes, there are additional state crimes (Texas alone has over 1,700), and federal regulatory offenses (approximately 300,000). The creation of these often unknowable and redundant crimes, the federalization of certain crimes traditionally prosecuted at the state level, and the removal of traditional mens rea requirements all contribute to a relentless trend known as overcriminalization.
Message to Conservatives: When George Washington worried that the government's charges of treason against the Whiskey Rebels were too Draconian, he pardoned them. When Thomas Jefferson thought the Alien Sedition Acts went too far, he promised, if elected, to pardon those who were convicted. As soon as he became president he pardoned the last individuals who were still being held for writing bad things about John Adams. When Woodrow Wilson had his veto of the Volstead Act overridden, he set records for pardons of individuals who violated drug and alcohol laws. When John F. Kennedy thought mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders were too harsh, he granted pardons accordingly. Jimmy Carter promised a blanket amnesty for Vietnam draft offenders and delivered. It is quite obvious that, if Conservative presidents (and governors) ever decide to get serious about addressing the problems associated with government overreach, the pardon power is there, waiting.

Reason 8: Since the "law and order" campaigns of Richard Nixon, Conservatives have placed every seemingly "soft on crime" politician on the radar. When crime was among the highest concerns of Americans in Gallup polls (the 1960s and 1970s), it was clearly a strategy that worked, at many levels. Would Conservative presidents be going "soft" on crime if they granted pardons - as most presidents have throughout history - frequently, and on a regular basis throughout, the calendar year? There is certainly no doubt that someone, somewhere will make the accusation, especially if a single pardon recipient (out of no matter how many hundreds, or thousands) commits an additional offense. On the other hand, if pardons are granted more frequently, and on a regular basis, the American public (and the media) will quickly learn what has largely been forgotten: again, the typical pardon does not spring anyone from prison. It simply restores rights. An additional benefit of a more regular use of the pardon power is that pardons granted to the president's friends, fellow partisans and political supporters (all of which deserve justice and fair consideration as much as anyone else) will appear less significant. In general, the fewer pardons granted, the more obnoxious such pardons will appear (rightly or wrongly).

Should Conservatives take the lead on this matter? Should they take the risk, when it is much easier to simply do nothing? For the sake of the purity of our political system, in order to benefit from the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, in order to pursue justice and economic efficiency in the criminal justice system and in order to better articulate concerns with / and combat the ever invasive expansion of government ... the answer is clearly "yes."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pardoned: Public Goon Number 1

Everyone remembers that Richard Nixon commuted the sentence of Jimmy Hoffa, but few people remember that Gerald Ford pardoned Teamster legend David Beck.

Beck once entertained the idea of going to law school. And he later observed that, given his numerous courtroom appearances, such training “would have come in handy.” But, instead, the path of the high school dropout’s life seemed to be set on December 1, 1924, when he was elected secretary to a Laundry Driver’s Union. Shortly thereafter, Beck attended his first meeting of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and was given a five hundred dollar a month job as part-time general “organizer.” He then became a full-time “organizer” for the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Incorrect Open Letter Sent Incorrectly to Obama

ArabNews.com is featuring an "open letter" to President Obama. Along the way, the letter mentions a "Saudi student" named Humeidan Al-Turki, who has, evidently, lost an appeal of his case to the Supreme Court. The letter notes that John F. Kennedy pardoned Hank Greenspan, "the leader of a smuggling network of arms to Israel." It notes that Gerald Ford pardoned President Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush pardoned Orlando Bosch, "one of the most aggressive terrorists who had masterminded the bombing of a civilian aircraft, one of his many terrorist acts." Finally, it notes that Bill Clinton pardoned Al Schwimmer "who was accused of organizing a network smuggling arms to Israel" and George W. Bush "issued a pardon" I. Lewis Libby "after being indicted on lying and perjury charges, the most ugly charges in the dictionary of American justice."

The letter then asks, rhetorically:
Mr. President, is the Saudi student’s (presumably accused of harassing his maid) action more serious than charges of those convicted of election fraud, bombing planes, lying, and possession and smuggling of arms and drugs?
PardonPower offers the following information as a public service: 1. At this point, Humeidan Al-Turki is not "presumably accused." He is, instead, convicted of aggravated sexually harassment of his Indonesian maid while keeping her in a condition of forced labor / servitude all for a wage of less than two dollars a day. He has also been sentenced to a prison term of 28 years. 2. Al-Turki was convicted in the State of Colorado, in Arapahoe County, in a state court, not a federal U.S. District Court. President Obama, however, cannot pardon persons convicted of state crimes. For information on clemency in the State of Colorado, follow this link3. George H.W. Bush did not pardon Orlando Bosch. For that matter 4. George W. Bush did not pardon Mr. Libby either. Bush merely commuted the prison sentence portion of Libby's punishment. See full "open letter" here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chart: Most Pardons Granted in a Singled Day




Click on chart to enlarge.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Becker on Ford's Pardon of Nixon

Last night, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library hosted a lecture by Benton Becker, a key advisor to the President on the pardon of Richard Nixon. More specifically, Becker was asked to research two questions 1) could a pardon be issued before any charges were filed? and 2) does the president have the right to issue a blanket pardon absolving a would-be defendant of whatever charges he may face? Becker filed a response here which gave Ford the "go" signal on both counts. Ford then sent him to Nixon's ranch in order to get Nixon to 1) sign over his presidential papers 2) accept the pardon in writing and 3) to convey to Nixon that acceptance of the pardon was an admission of guilt. See story here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Context: Ah, The Good Old Days of Preemptive / Blanket Pardons

Christmas 1863 probably wasn't the best of times for John Ashbury of Missouri. He was under indictment for "Conspiracy against the Government." In addition, he was considered an "old" and "poor" man. One wonders if he could have ever really expected that Abraham Lincoln would take the time to sit down and write:
Now therefore be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, in consideration the premises diverse and other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant a free and full pardon to the said John Ashbury for the offenses of which he is indicted and for all similar offenses by him committed previous to the month of February, A.D. 1862.
Ashbury was off the hook .... after being charged with "Conspiracy against the United States!" Just like that. No trial. No conviction. No sentence. What the judicial system had to say just did not matter. The whole "government of laws and not men" thing seemed out of whack. And, whoever Mr. Ashbury was, he far from being alone.

Lincoln trashed judicial proceedings with separate preemptive blanket pardons for 16 others under indictment for conspiracy. Their warrants employed the same language ... "all crimes" ... "all similar offenses." He also eased judicial caseloads by granting 10 separate blanket pardons to individuals under indictment for treason. M.G. Singleton and Henry L. Routts and Henry Fort got such pardons while under indictment for treason and conspiracy! Others got preemptive pardons from Lincoln while under indictment for robbing the mail or aiding and comforting rebels.

In other instances, persons were charged, tried, or at least being detained, for a variety of crimes and Lincoln got them off the hook - or freed them - with blanket pardons. John Winter, John S. Fitzhugh and Frankin D. Graham, for example, were found guilty of treason and Lincoln pardoned them:
... of all treasons, felonies and other crimes by them or either of them committed before the first day of August AD 1861.
Ditto for 23 others. In other words, 56 of Lincoln's individuals pardons (or about 1 out of every 15 that he granted - and he granted almost 400 of them) derailed the judicial process and/or granted blanket immunity for such high crimes as treason and conspiracy against the United States of America.

So, the next time you hear about how "rare" and dramatic Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon was (especially because Nixon was not tried and the pardon covered crimes that he may have committed), take a second to remember the other president from Illinois.

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