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April 30, 2008

Judge Walton expresses concerns about commutation for Scooter Libby

Reminding me of an issue that I wish would get a lot more play on the campaign trail, this article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel makes clear than not everyone has forgotten the special sentencing justice that Scooter Libby received last summer.  The article is headlined, "Libby judge says Bush sent wrong signal: Walton worries about perception of inequality in justice," and here is how it starts:

When President Bush erased the prison term of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, he reinforced some Americans' perception that status can affect justice, according to the judge who sentenced Libby.

In commuting the 2 1/2 -year prison term of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Bush called U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton's sentence excessive, given Libby's "exceptional public service" and lack of criminal history.

Walton, whom Bush nominated to the District of Columbia bench, acknowledged Tuesday that Bush's decision was part of the system, but he also said it fed some people's notion that justice isn't equal.  "The president has that authority and exercised it, and that has to be respected," said Walton, who is to speak Thursday in Milwaukee at a literacy event. "The downside is there are a lot of people in America who think that justice is determined to a large degree by who you are and that what you have plays a large role in what kind of justice you receive. . . . It is crucial that the American public respect the rule of law, or people won't follow it."

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Comments

And Walton spoke out when Mel Reynolds got his clemency too, I suppose.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 30, 2008 11:36:34 AM

Federalist, do you disagree with the substance of what Judge Walton is saying? Federalist, you come off as a partisan hack; stuck to a superficial ideology; lacking principle.

Judge Walton is a staunch law and order type. A Bush appointee. Are you saying he is biased in favor of Democrats?

Posted by: John | Apr 30, 2008 12:32:01 PM

No, I think he's got his panties in a bunch because the case was in front of him. Presidents often pardon people who work for them if their crimes are like Libby's. Walton knows this--so why is he focusing on Libby?

Posted by: federalist | Apr 30, 2008 12:50:42 PM

I am guessing that the only way the Libby case will get attention in the general election is if Obama gets the Democratic nomination. He has mentioned Libby, by name, many times in stump speeches.

Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, will not get near the topic of pardons because there are too many dragons in the cave and nothing positive will come of it - witness the recent debate exchange regarding William Ayers and the Weather Underground pardons.

Mrs. Clinton has no desire to discuss clemency related controversies involving her husband, both of her brothers, her brother-in-law, her campaign treasurer and other long-time political associates.

Posted by: P.S. Ruckman, Jr. | Apr 30, 2008 6:22:10 PM

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