Green Room

Beeler: The Obama pardon we all expect to see

posted at 11:00 am on November 27, 2013 by

Which turkey will the President pardon this Thanksgiving? The Columbus Dispatch’s Nate Beeler predicts it will be this one:

beeler-turkey

On a more serious note, Ron Fournier wonders when Obama will start using his real pardon power to correct a few injustices.  At the moment, he’s on track to be the stingiest President since Washington with this power, and Fournier has a good place for him to start:

Angelos was sentenced in 2004 to 55 years’ imprisonment for possessing a firearm in connection with selling small amounts of marijuana. He didn’t brandish or use a weapon, nor did he hurt or threaten to injure anybody. And yet the father of young children and an aspiring music producer was given an effective life sentence because of a draconian federal law requiring mandatory minimum sentences.

Even the judge on his case, Paul G. Cassell, found the sentence “cruel and irrational.” While urging Obama to reduce Angelos’s punishment, the Republican-appointed judge wrote, “While I must impose the unjust sentence, our system of separated powers provides a means of redress.” …

According to an analysis of Justice Department data published by Reason.com, only three presidents made less use of the clemency power than did Obama during their first terms: George Washington, who had little cause to grant clemency in the nation’s first days; William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia a month after taking office; and James Garfield, who was shot four months into his presidency.

After granting 17 pardons this year, according to the DOJ website, the total for Obama’s presidency stands at 39 pardons (which clear people’s records, typically after they’ve completed their sentences) and just one commutation (which shortens a prisoner’s sentence).

As you can see from the graphic, Obama still ranks at the bottom historically, and his record extends a trend of presidential intolerance that dates to the tough-on-crime demagoguery of Presidents Nixon and Reagan–both of whom, ironically, were more generous with clemency powers than Obama.

The political incentives are all set against the use of pardons at the presidential and gubernatorial level, but Obama won’t be running for office again. A pardon in this case won’t become a midterm election issue, and it’s doubtful that any pardon would be except for a member of the Obama administration that gets caught up in one of the scandals erupting this year.

Of course, it doesn’t help that Obama has Eric Holder in his Cabinet and involved in the pardon process. Holder was involved in one of the most notorious presidential pardons ever, that given to Marc Rich while still a fugitive from justice after his Democratic-donor former wife campaigned for the action. But that’s Obama’s fault for appointing Holder in the first place.

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Oh, come on: Obama will, in December 2016, issue a ream of pardons, or maybe a blanket pardon to his entire admin.

I’m pretty sure that we won’t be looking back at Obama and wishing he would have used the pardon power more.

Vanceone on November 27, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Pardons in the “In Basket”:

Holder
Jarret
Biden
Emanuel
Reid
Pelosi
Clinton, H.R.
Sebelius
Napolitano
Chiu

BobMbx on November 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

that Turkey is workin’ great….People want some of that Turkey…That’s some greaaat Turkey… It may be a bit overcooked or have a glitch in the bastings, buuutt, it’s still delicious…./

ted c on November 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

O.J. Simpson?

NotCoach on November 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Is there a method for retracting a pardon if it was an obvious case of corruption?

Flange on November 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM

The last two turkeys he “pardoned” died within a year. Fowl play?

Blake on November 27, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Is there a method for retracting a pardon if it was an obvious case of corruption?

Flange on November 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Nope. It is an absolute power.

BobMbx on November 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Nope. It is an absolute power.

BobMbx on November 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Well ain’t that grand. I suspect there’s going to be serious abuse of this power in his final days in office.

Flange on November 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Using the metric of ‘pardons’, perhaps.

But this guy has let out of jail more criminals than any other President.

Recall: Jail cells opened and thousands of illegal immigrants released ‘due to sequester’ budget cuts.

Carnac on November 27, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Um…. how about he “pardon” the guy who was wrongly imprisoned (and still sits in jail, as far as I know) for making that Youtube video that he blamed for the Benghazi attack?

Any day now would be great. KTHX

UltimateBob on November 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM

The last two turkeys he “pardoned” died within a year. Fowl play?

Blake on November 27, 2013 at 11:18 AM

No, those commercial turkeys almost always die soon. Nobody bred them for longevity.

trigon on November 27, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Pardon the crusty dried boogers on the tip of Obama’s index finger before he sticks them in his big mouth.

Or pardon Bo before he gets et up by …uh…mistake?

Sherman1864 on November 27, 2013 at 2:31 PM

trigon on November 27, 2013 at 1:14 PM

You’re just part of the coverup!

Blake on November 27, 2013 at 2:36 PM

The pardon power is absolute, but it doesn’t keep the pardoned person from being hauled before Congress. It may even prevent him from using ‘self-incrimination’ as a reason for refusing to testify. So Holder may skate, but his unpardoned subordinates will have cause to sweat, which may eventually cause the discouraging of corruption at the top by those just below it.

Of course, this needs a roaring and leaping GOP, so it may be largely academic.

PersonFromPorlock on November 27, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Come to think of it, the Pardon Power isn’t absolute since it doesn’t apply in cases of impeachment. Not sure how that affects things but it’s worth noting.

PersonFromPorlock on November 27, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Pardons in the “In Basket”:

Holder
Jarret
Biden
Emanuel
Reid
Pelosi
Clinton, H.R.
Sebelius
Napolitano
Chiu

BobMbx on November 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Can you “pardon” someone who hasn’t been charged with anything? I mean, how would that work? “I hereby pardon you for all unspecified illegal activity you committed through the date of this pardon?”

Or does Holder need to start charging people with every conceivable offense (Lois Lerner, anyone?) so Barack can give them pardons?

CJ on November 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM

You’re just part of the coverup!

Blake on November 27, 2013 at 2:36 PM

How very perceptive of you.

Perhaps a little too perceptive…

trigon on November 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Can you “pardon” someone who hasn’t been charged with anything?

Yes, the President can, and President Ford did (Nixon).
And this President may have to to shield Holder from any Mexican extradition requests.

Another Drew on November 27, 2013 at 4:22 PM

And this President may have to to shield Holder from any Mexican extradition requests.

Another Drew on November 27, 2013 at 4:22 PM

I don’t think that a US pResident’s pardon would extend to anyone charged by another country.
All the Mexican govt. has to do is wait for the next administration, charge holder and request his extradition to Mexico to stand trial…for complicity in the murders of over 300 Mexican nationals.

Unless, of course, enough “foreign aid” has flowed into the pockets of the Mexican judiciary.

Solaratov on November 27, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Can you “pardon” someone who hasn’t been charged with anything? I mean, how would that work? “I hereby pardon you for all unspecified illegal activity you committed through the date of this pardon?”

CJ on November 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Yep, as in the case of Richard Nixon.

ebrown2 on November 27, 2013 at 10:11 PM

I don’t see anything particularly unjust about a drug dealer being put away for life, young kids or no.

Count to 10 on November 27, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Obama’s pardons will ensure the doors are locked and that the alarm is set thereafter.

The Nerve on November 27, 2013 at 11:02 PM

Pardons in the “In Basket”:

Holder
Jarret
Biden
Emanuel
Reid
Pelosi
Clinton, H.R.
Sebelius
Napolitano
Chiu

BobMbx on November 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

.
Why’s Biden on that list?

I totally agree with your top two picks. They are #1 & #2, in exactly the sequence you put ‘em. Next two should be Emanuel and Hillary, but I can’t conclude which one is the worst. One should be #3 and the other #4. Then Reid, Pelosi, Sebelius, Napolitano, and Chiu, in that order.

listens2glenn on November 28, 2013 at 12:45 AM

I don’t see anything particularly unjust about a drug dealer being put away for life, young kids or no.

Count to 10 on November 27, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Who?

Othniel on November 28, 2013 at 12:20 PM

But… but… President Obama’s outlook is all “kindness”, and “not ideological”.

RebeccaH on November 28, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Holder was involved in one of the most notorious presidential pardons ever, that given to Marc Rich while still a fugitive from justice after his Democratic-donor former wife campaigned for the action.

Excuse me, but she didn’t “campaign”, rather a large chunk of CASH was dropped on the Slick Willie Whore House and Presidential Library Fund.

GarandFan on November 28, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Look fr a Clintonesque “pardon storm” as the final days of The One’s presidency draw to a close. Here’s a probable candidate for one;

Ohio Democratic lieutenant governor candidate owes state for back taxes

Have to keep him “viable” for future runs, you know.

clear ether

eon

eon on November 28, 2013 at 9:04 PM

I suspect there’s going to be serious abuse of this power in his final days in office.

Flange on November 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Count on it.

BallisticBob on November 29, 2013 at 12:15 AM

Um…. how about he “pardon” the guy who was wrongly imprisoned (and still sits in jail, as far as I know) for making that Youtube video that he blamed for the Benghazi attack?

Any day now would be great. KTHX

UltimateBob on November 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM

he was released a bit ago, 2 months or so ago.

dmacleo on November 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Mamiya Abu-jamal

TimBuk3 on November 29, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Free Mumia!” took over as the iconic Leftist moist dream. I guess the other murderous and non-white Leonard Peltier (Sioux Indian) didn’t quite possess the cachet of an urban cop-killer.

On the Thanksgiving Day table in urban America were bottles of MD 20/20.
Let the games begin!
As for King Barry and ALL of his “proclamations”, they are as anachronistic as “nose art” on B-52s and statements on ordnance announcing their meaning and origin. All I want to see is a Cruise Missile headed toward Iran with the inscription: This One’s for YOU, Ayatoilet!
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on November 30, 2013 at 9:58 AM