Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conversation No. 1 : Pardon Me!

Pardon Me Please For Anything I Have Done, May Do Or Am Thinking About Doing.



Well my friends the subject of Presidential pardons has recently come up. The reason for this sudden interest in the Presidential pardon is due to the fact the President George W, Bush has used this absolute power to pardon fourteen people and to commute prison sentences for two others so far.

The fear by the Democrats is that President Bush will use this power to pardon someone like Scooter Libby, or someone else they might consider controversial. I do believe that he should pardon the two Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos. Those were the two who were convicted for shooting a drug smuggler in his butt as he was attempting to escape back into Mexico from the US.

Their other big fear is that he may even issue pardons to people who have not been charged with anything yet, such as cabinet members or even VP Dick Cheney. Believe me they have wanted to get Dick Cheney for years. If President Bush were to do these types of pardons they could not be overturned and the Democrats would lose their shot at some Republican red meat.

The constitution was written to make sure that Presidential pardons were absolute and could not be overturned. Let us not forget that previous Presidents have used the Presidential pardon controversially since we became a country. Let’s take a look at some of these great leaders who have used the pardon to their advantage.



There's no definitive legal consensus on whether a president can pardon himself.


But Bush may well give the theorists an answer.


Charlotte Dennett promised that, if she won her race for attorney general of Vermont in the recent election, she would prosecute George W. Bush for the murder of 4,000 American soldiers and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians after he left office.

Unfortunately, Dennett did not become Vermont's attorney general. But it is possible (perhaps very possible) that one or more of our other 49 state attorneys general will take up that case after Jan. 20. Hopefully, that AG will appoint -- as Dennett promised to do --famed criminal attorney Vincent Bugliosi (author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder) as special prosecutor.

However, there will be no prosecution or trial of George Bush -- or Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld, or Condoleezza Rice, or any of the others who deliberately deceived America into a war that should never have been waged -- if Bush decides to pardon not only his accomplices in crime but also himself.

We know that a president can pardon anyone, for any reason, and for any federal crime (except in cases of impeachment), not only after a conviction has been handed down in trial, but before any trial has even taken place, indeed before any charges have even been filed -- as Gerald Ford infamously pardoned Richard Nixon for Watergate; as George H. W. Bush pardoned Caspar Weinberger, Elliott Abrams and various CIA officials accused and/or convicted in connection with the Iran-Contra affair; as Bill Clinton pardoned his brother, Roger, for drug trafficking and financier Marc Rich for tax evasion (after Rich's wife made a significant donation to the Clinton Presidential Library); and as current President George W. Bush more recently commuted "Scooter" Libby's prison term.

So -- can Bush do it? Can he pardon himself before leaving office?




The presidential pardon has been a controversial matter since day one. Virginian George Mason would’ve been one of the signatories to the new constitution of the United States of America, but disagreed with basic ideas in the document — including the pardon — and refused to sign. On the power of the pardon, Mason worried that a president who had “secretly instigated to commit crimes” with others might use it to prevent “a discovery of his own guilt.”


But it was Alexander Hamilton who prevailed in that debate. “The principal argument for reposing the power of pardoning in the chief magistrate is this: In seasons of insurrection or rebellion, there are often critical moments when a well-timed offer of pardon to the insurgents or rebels may restore the tranquility of the commonwealth,” he wrote in the Federalist Papers. Unfortunately, Hamilton only foresaw the presidency as a position held by “a single man of prudence and good sense.”


Which recent resident of the White House doesn’t that sound like to you? Mason’s argument is starting to look better.


Still, Hamilton’s argument also makes sense. The idea is that executive clemency could be used quickly to avoid a national emergency. Washington used it to end the Whiskey Rebellion, an uprising of Pennsylvanians who refused to pay taxes on booze. Andrew Johnson granted clemency to the entire confederate army — a pretty common sense move that still wasn’t without controversy. His opponents accused him of restoring the right to vote to most of the south for political gain.


But it pays to remember that, as historically significant as the Federalist Papers are, they aren’t law. Hamilton’s opinion of the pardon has no more legal basis than his confidence that there’d never be a President Numbskull. The law is in the Constitution and that reads, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

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