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November 20, 2021

Clemency criticisms as Prez Biden's record is now turkeys 2, humans 0

More than a decade ago, it took a couple years of Thanksgiving turkey pardon rituals before Prez Obama started receiving considerable grief for only granting clemencies to birds and not humans.  But I suppose we have made some progress in the last decade, as now one can find a few year-one commentaries assailing the Prez Biden's clemency record that is just fit the the farm and not for families:

From Marijuana Moment, "Biden Pardons Turkeys, But White House Has ‘Nothing New’ On Relief For Marijuana Prisoners"

From the New York Post, "Biden laughs off question about clemency for humans before pardoning turkeys"

From the Star Tribune, "When it comes to human pardons, thanks for nothing: President Joe Biden hasn't just not pardoned anyone — he's just letting the requests sit unanswered."

Disappointingly, there is still a lot more discussion of the names and fate of the turkeys who were "pardoned" than of the broken federal clemency process and the thousands of clemency requests so far ignored by the Biden Administration.  Sigh.

November 20, 2021 at 10:22 AM | Permalink


I have long felt this "pardon" turkeys thing stupid. There was a West Wing episode (before Obama was in office) reminding people that presidents don't actually have the power to pardon birds.

I have not done a "deep dive" here, but it would not surprise me if it it didn't take to the middle of the Obama Administration for people to bring up how the Administrations involved treated humans here.

President Obama, of course, did grant clemency and pardon humans. President Biden will too.

They are not just being "ignored." Exactly what is happening, including perhaps having a congressional hearing with the acting person in charge of pardons (a woman there for a while, when I checked the DOJ page) to discuss the process, would be helpful.

I don't think this stupid tradition tells us much at all about it except providing a lay-up of an opportunity to bring it up. Which is fine really. But, doesn't really change the bottom line there.

Yes, coverage of a now decade-long gimmicky tradition receives more coverage than more serious complex topics. Likewise, we don't get much coverage on the treatment of turkeys in factory farming. I would appreciate more treatment of all the other turkeys too.

Someone did bring up actual humans to Jen Psaki in yesterday's press conference. She provided the stock answer that it is in the process. But, I'm glad someone brought it up.

The NY Post link needs to be fixed.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 20, 2021 11:33:33 AM

Two turkeys "pardoned" and thousands of thousands eaten. Sigh.

The "pardon" bit to be clear is not the same thing as pardoning people. You can imagine a government official actually doing something like that. Let's say an army captain "pardons" a horse that harmed someone. Decided the horse should not be shot or something.

This is a show -- the turkeys are given to POTUS and ceremonially they are "pardoned." The turkeys were not actually in danger of something. Basically the "pardoning" is done on the end of the donors, if anything.

I again recognize this is a useful time to talk about actual pardoning (it also for some is a useful time to talk animal welfare and general food issues). But, just to be clear about that.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 22, 2021 10:37:05 AM

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