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October 3, 2007

ACS issue brief on the pardon power

Reviving a topic that was hot this summer, ACS has a new issue brief available here about Presidential pardon authority.  The brief, authored by Margaret Colgate Love, in entitled "Reinventing the President's Pardon Power," and here is an abstract:

In Reinventing the President’s Pardon Power, Margaret Colgate Love, former United States Pardon Attorney, explores the pardon power, placing it in historical context and explaining why the power was included in the Constitution and granted exclusively to the president. Love then describes how the pardon power was used and administered until the 1980s to serve the overall goals of the republic, effectuate justice and grant mercy.  She turns next to what she terms “the decline and fall of ordinary pardoning,” a period in the most recent few decades during which presidential pardoning went into a decline in terms of both the frequency and purposes of its use.

The author advocates a return to the regular use of the pardon power as it may be used effectively by presidents to do justice, to communicate a vision of criminal justice, to advance law reform and to avoid infamy for making rare grants that the public perceives as favoritism.  Noting that public confidence in pardons has been justifiably diminished, Love urges that “[O]ur next president ought to identify the values pardon serves, define a clear role for it in the criminal justice system, and establish a system for administering the power that will maximize its potential for correcting injustice and encouraging reform.”

Some related posts about presidential pardons:

October 3, 2007 at 03:57 PM | Permalink


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