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February 18, 2009

More back-story on President Bush's resistance to concluding clemencies

The New York Times has this new story with more on Dick Cheney major (failed) final push to get President Bush to pardon Scooter Libby (basics here).  Among the notable aspects of this Times coverage are indications that President Bush was "frustrated by a deluge of last-minute pardon requests from other quarters."  Here is some of this reporting:

Two former White House officials familiar with the thinking of both men said that Mr. Bush had been generally overwhelmed and surprised by the last-minute lobbying for pardons, but that he had believed he owed it to Mr. Cheney to listen to him as he made one last case for Mr. Libby over the course of several long discussions.

Sharing details of the private talks on the condition of anonymity, the former officials said Mr. Bush had not been comfortable going further than his initial commutation of Mr. Libby’s prison sentence in 2007....

Former White House officials said that Mr. Bush had seriously weighed Mr. Cheney’s arguments but that it was always a long shot that Mr. Bush would pardon Mr. Libby. He was well known to avoid revisiting decisions, and did not grant pardons easily. “He was very stingy with pardons,” said Andrew H. Card Jr., his former chief of staff.

Kenneth L. Adelman, another Bush supporter turned critic who has called for a pardon for Mr. Libby, said he believed “Bush got it in his head that he did not want to leave office like Clinton did,” a reference to the disputed pardons that President Bill Clinton issued in his final hours.

February 18, 2009 at 06:32 AM | Permalink


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I'm curious to know what, if any, collateral consequences Scooter Libby is facing now that he has been convicted and his sentence has been commuted. Is his life any worse, and if so, how?

Senior public servants, even those who leave less than honorably, like Libby, frequently come out better economically after leaving public service than they did in public service.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Feb 18, 2009 1:45:35 PM

The ABA Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia have just published the latest survey of federal collateral sanctions, Internal Exile: Collateral Consequences of Conviction in Federal Laws and Regulations (2009). It is available on-line and runs over 200 pages (including copies of the text of relevant stautes). Mind you, this does NOT include the state law collateral sanctions to which Libby is subject whereever he happens to live.

Posted by: anon | Feb 18, 2009 5:03:42 PM

ohwilleke. But most of them don't get their bar license taken away. Even if he goes into lobbying or something else, that still has to smart. To spend all the time and effort in a career and then being told you can't work in it ever again, ouch.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 18, 2009 7:33:39 PM

ohwilleke, For example, b/c he isn't a lawyer, he likely can't be a partner in a law firm.

Maybe he can be a commentator on Fox or something.

Posted by: S.cotus | Feb 19, 2009 2:12:16 AM

And because he isn't a lawyer, he has to suffer the perpetual scorn of S.cotus...

Posted by: Ben | Feb 20, 2009 9:46:26 AM

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