Thursday, March 04, 2010


Political Mayhem Thursday: Who should get the benefit of the pardon power?

Yesterday, Prof. P.S. Ruckman, who is a leading expert on pardons, posted an interview with me over at his blog, Pardon Power (which is also now linked to the Razor on the blogroll to the left). His blog is an invaluable resource for people like me, as it is literally the only media source with comprehensive information on this Constitutional power. You can see the full text of the interview here. One thing... where did he get this picture from? I have never seen it before in my life. It did show the exact same clothes I was wearing today... is it some kind of stealth cam work?

Generally, the interview is about our commutation project. One question, though, got to the role of pardons and commutations in government. Here was my answer:

Pardons and commutations are a tool, like a hammer or a warship. It is true that such things aren’t important—until you need them to fix a problem or protect your society from harm. If such tools can be used to fix a problem, they should be used. Given the legacy of over-sentencing crack cases, it is time to use this tool to fix the problem we nearly all agree exists.

My questions for all of you are these:

1) Do you agree with me about the nature of the presidential power of pardon and commutation?

2) If you do think the pardon power can and should be used as a tool, what types of cases whould it be used for? Can you articulate a principle or set of principles for using it?

As a prosecutor, I would probably be mad and throw stuff at Rick Perry if he pardoned a guy I worked hard to convict.

'Course, I'd probably do that anyway, just because he's an Aggie.

But on a more serious note, I understand the need for executive clemency, and though I might not always agree with its uses, realize that it is an important check on prosecutor's power to seek convictions, and the judiciary's role in refereeing those cases. It should be reviewed only for a gross abuse of that discretion.
Or you can get a pardon in Dallas the easy way...
Just do not use it like Clinton did!
I thought this was a tool to elevate the rich above the law by making massive political contributions to those in power.
wow! what a great picture of the professor! Love the power tie!
Unfortunately, Michael's characterization of it seems pretty right-on a lot of times....
I think his hair is greatly improved. Was it done professionally?
Got home late from work last night and All the President's Men was on cable. I had not seen it in many years, such a great movie.
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