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June 20, 2022

"The Trump Clemencies: Celebrity, Chaos, and Lost Opportunity"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new article authored by Mark Osler now available via SSRN. Here is its abstract:

The presidency of Donald Trump may have produced the most chaotic use of the constitutional pardon power in American history. Trump granted clemency to war criminals, to close friends, to celebrities and to the friends of celebrities, with much of it coming in a mad rush at the end of his single term.  Buried beneath this rolling disaster was a brief moment of hope and  a lost opportunity: the chance for a restructure of the clemency process in the Fall of 2018, enabled by a rare alignment of factors including Trump’s alienation from the Department of Justice and the interest of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. This article explores the fullness of Trump’s clemency legacy and explores what was lost when a vehicle that could have helped stem over-incarceration died on the drafting table.

June 20, 2022 at 05:54 PM | Permalink


I’m not sure if the first sentence is supported by the second. Exactly when has that not been the case about pardons? It only becomes a scandal when one particular side does it.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 20, 2022 11:38:57 PM

TarlsQtr --

The first sentence is, "The presidency of Donald Trump may have produced the most chaotic use of the constitutional pardon power in American history."

The reason you see sentences like that in articles but not in briefs submitted to a court in a serious case is that articles have no verification criteria, so you can say anything you want and there won't be a challenge. What exactly is the definition of "most chaotic"? No one knows, so you can just throw it out there to show how much you look down on Trump (which is de rigueur in academia). Plus Prof. Osler is insulated from criticism by the fact that he's made a name for himself by his years of enthusiastic pro-criminal advocacy. That's a shield from any serious scrutiny of what he says.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2022 10:05:20 AM

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