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October 28, 2010

Interesting and notable federal clemency developments on two fronts

Thanks to the effective work by Josh Gerstein at Politico, everyone can catch up quickly on these two new and notable federal clemency stories:

Both of these stories are full of legal and political nuance, which I hope to find time to blog about later today after I finish teaching two classes and before I get lost in Game 2 of the World Series.

UPDATE:  On my request, former US Pardon Attorney Margaret Colgate Love sent me this reaction via e-mail to these notable clemency developments:

"It is unfortunate that the Obama administration has evidently become captive to the mistaken idea that pardoning necessarily involves political as opposed to justice-based decisions.  As a result, the federal pardon process has all but ceased to function, and pardons are expected only as holiday gift-giving.  It is a shame because there are so many deserving individuals who have no other recourse, including many long-time legal residents with dated minor convictions who are threatened with deportation.  In the past the pardon process has not particularly benefited from additional transparency, but sunshine may at least reveal where the hold-up is."

October 28, 2010 at 01:14 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Did any of the applicants make any Democrat campaign donation? Money talks, the rest walks.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 29, 2010 6:39:22 AM

Since the president makes such decisions regarding pardons, there can be no doubt that politics plays a huge role in this process. Thought it is doubtful that is what the Constitution originally intended, the fact that pardons are now part of politics is undeniable.
Examples -
Ford pardoning Nixon
Carter pardoning draft dodgers
Clinton pardoning Marc Rich
Bush commuting Scooter Libby's sentence.
Granted these are high profile examples but it does prove that politics is active in such decisions.

Posted by: Robert | Oct 29, 2010 6:50:38 AM

This is one of the many reasons I won't be contributing to or volunteering for Democratic candidates in the mid-term or most probably in 2012 elections as well.

Looks like all that business about changing the culture of politics was just a cruel, self-serving joke. There simply doesn't seem to be even an ounce of testosterone anywhere to be found in the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party has been taken over by thugs and cretins but at least it fights for the two things it values (begrudging taxes and coddling the rich).

Posted by: John K | Oct 29, 2010 11:04:16 AM

You should correct the title of your second link. Rather than ordering release of the applicants themselves, the court is only ordering release of their _names_. A decidedly less exciting development.

Posted by: Kristin | Oct 29, 2010 12:10:44 PM

John K --

"Looks like all that business about changing the culture of politics was just a cruel, self-serving joke."

One of the few times we have agreed. Where's Mr. Post-Partisan? Where's Hope and Change? Just to utter the phrases is an embarrassment.

Incidentally, you remember all the stuff about chasing the lobbyists out of Washington? What a joke! With the Dems handing out zillions the country can't afford, there are a record number of hands out. The office vacancy rate on K Street is zero, what with all the lobbyists running around.

"There simply doesn't seem to be even an ounce of testosterone anywhere to be found in the Democratic Party."

I have to disagree with you there. Just last week, Bill Clinton -- never a man thought to be short on testosterone -- was trying to push a black man out of the Florida Senate race to make way for phony Democrat (and to be honest, even phonier Republican) Charlie Crist.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 29, 2010 2:17:23 PM

Isn't it amazing, a person who talked in terms of a "just us" system (cute--justice, just-us) is tight-fisted when it comes to pardons.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 30, 2010 1:42:26 PM

federalist --

Not only that, but he's now in less of a position to grant pardons than at any time in his tenure. He has zero political capital (actually he has a deficit of political capital, although nothing like the deficit he has built for the country). He squandered the considerable good will he had initially when, after campaigning as a moderate, he governed from as far to the left any President since FDR (whom he mistakenly takes himself to be). He promised post-partisanship and has become the most partisan President in my lifetime. His current escapades are amazing: Just tonight he departed from his set speech to argue with hecklers for THREE MINUTES. He then told them to go heckle Republicans.

This is the President of the United States, mind you. His devaluing of the Office is phenomenal. Yesterday he took a half-hour off the campaign trail to acknowledge a "credible terrorist threat," then went right back with his attack on the Boogey Man of the Week (I forget whether it's Boehner or Glenn Beck or the Chamber of Commerce -- it keeps changing).

He basically sold the country a bill of goods in 2008. Mr. Post-Partisan my foot.

In 72 hours, the country will deliver its judgment on his stewardship. For him, it ain't gonna be pretty. The result will be, for anyone who actually deserves a pardon: Tough luck.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 30, 2010 11:06:08 PM

Isn't it amazing, a person who talked in terms of a "just us" system (cute--justice, just-us) is tight-fisted when it comes to pardons.

Posted by: abercrombie and fitch | Aug 17, 2011 3:26:40 AM

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