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December 24, 2008

President Bush tries to take back one notable (and noted) pardon grant!?!?!

Thanks to a helpful reporter, I just learned of this remarkable statement from the White House that follows in the wake of yesterday's grant of a new batch of clemencies issued by President Bush.  Because I can hardly believe this is not a bad joke coming from the folks at The Onion, I will report the official statement in full text:

Statement by the Press Secretary

Yesterday the President forwarded to the Pardon Attorney a Master Warrant of Clemency including 19 requests for pardons with direction that he execute and deliver grants of clemency to the named individuals.

With respect to the case of Mr. Isaac R. Toussie, the Counsel to the President reviewed the application and believed, based on the information known to him at the time, that it was a meritorious application. He so advised the President, who accepted the recommendation.

Based on information that has subsequently come to light, the President has directed the Pardon Attorney not to execute and deliver a Grant of Clemency to Mr. Toussie. The Pardon Attorney has not provided a recommendation on Mr. Toussie's case because it was filed less than five years from completion of his sentence.  The President believes that the Pardon Attorney should have an opportunity to review this case before a decision on clemency is made.

Who is poor Mr. Isaac R. Toussie, you might ask?  He happens to be the housing scammer that Ben Smith in this Politico post rightly called an odd candidate for a pardon during these rough economic times. 

The New York Times has this City Beat post providing more background on Mr. Toussie and what it calls President Bush's "unusual move" to take back this pardon grant.  Though P.S. Ruckman of the terrific Pardon Power blog would know for sure, I think this effort to publicly reverse a publicly announced pardon is unprecedented, not just "unusual." 

Unlike others, I am generally disinclined to assert that the Bush Administration can't do anything right.  But President Bush's discovery of this brand new way to mess up the use of the clemency power certainly justifies heaping an extra little bit of ridicule on this really, really lame duck.

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December 24, 2008 at 05:05 PM | Permalink


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Hopefully, we can figure out who made this mistake, and make it clear that graduates of his law school are not detail oriented. From this point forward their resume will never be looked at, but instead will be returned with rejection letters that deliberately misspell their names. Everyone in that law school obviously is an idiot and has no sense of detail and therefore hates America. They probably dress badly, too.

Posted by: S.cotus | Dec 24, 2008 9:43:21 PM

Douglas A. Berman- WHAT A FUCKING DOUCHEBAG!!! It amazes me what kind of pieces of crap we have teaching(brainwashing)students.Typical fucking lawyer,no honor,no ethics,no morals.I would imagine you wouldn't have wanted clemency or a pardon for the guy in the article and if it had been Bill Clinton or Obama that decided on further review to recind the pardon,you would praise him for his sound judgement and thoughful review. People ike you truly disgust me and shoud disgust all AMERICANS. Alas many MAERICANS are just like you and HATE and and all that do not agree or bow down to your SUPERIOR STATUS that your sheep and the media bestow upon you.FUCK OFF ASSHOLE!!!!

Posted by: JACK MEHOFF | Dec 24, 2008 9:50:26 PM

Prof. Berman, I know that you are quite tolerant when it comes to the comments section of the blog, but I don't think anyone would seriously object if you deleted the comment above.

I think someone's had a bit too much egg nog this evening.

Posted by: anonymous | Dec 24, 2008 10:45:06 PM

So the guy doesn't deserve clemency solely because the crime he committed is now being committed by a lot of other people?

All applications for clemency are vetted extensively, it's not like the Bush administration recommended the pardon based on false/misleading info and then learned the truth - that this guy committed a crime that is currently politically incorrect.

Somehow this has to do with "victim's rights" groups screaming and whining. Whether the guy does or does not deserve a pardon is not the issue, but surely the current political climate should not affect whether or not clemency is warranted. Regardless, I do expect the Bush administration to do NOTHING right, and therefore this does not surprise me at all.

QUESTION: Under the Constitution, the PResident has the sole authority to grant pardons. What's Bush doing sending his recommendations for clemency to the pardon attorney with directions to grant them? What's a "Master Warrant of Clemency"? Is that the actual signed order from the President granting the pardons/clemency/reprieves/etc? If so then how can it be undone once it's signed (and publicly announced)? The constitution gives the president the power to grant pardons, not undo pardons. If a president can undo his own pardons, what's to stop a president from undoing the pardons of previous presidents? The pardon power is final. Yeah I'd love to see Obama come in and un-pardon Scotter Libby but it shouldn't be able to work that way (I realize libby was not pardoned only had his senence commuted... but give it until Jan. 19th).

Anonymous: deleting comments critical of yourself is universally lame. Anyone with half a brain cell can tell that "Jack Mehoff" has no clue what he's screaming about, and that his complaint about Prof. Berman makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. If it were my blog I wouldn't delete it, because then it gives the post undue attention, makes the poster feel justified, and makes anyone who has already seen it think there may be some truth to it since it got taken down.

Just my 2 cents, it's obviously not my blog.

Posted by: BruceM | Dec 25, 2008 12:56:30 PM

The president has the unquallified right to pardon anyone. Where does the 5-year rule come from? Not the Constitution. It certainly did not apply to Scooter Libby. It is a smokescreen for Bush to hide behind to recind the granted pardon. Bush still doesn't do his homework!

Posted by: layperson | Dec 26, 2008 1:16:11 AM

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