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Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power

As former U.S. Pardon Attorney Margy Love says over at White Collar Crime Blog.

He has pardoned only 69 people in five years, about 7% of pardon applications acted on during this period, an absolute number and rate that is lower than any president in the past 100 years. It is curious to me (though not surprising) that elsewhere he presses the outer limits of constitutional powers that most regard as shared with the other branches, while appearing quite timid and uninspired where it comes to exercising the one power that is truly totally his own.

Love also notes that federal pardons are the only way to get rid of a federal criminal record. There is no expungement, and no administrative procedure for restoration of rights.

Because there is no other way under federal law that a person can avoid or mitigate the collateral consequences of conviction, federal offenders remain forever barred from many jobs and benefits and even civil rights, because of their conviction. I am not a particular fan of guns, but many would-be hunters remain permanently saddled with a disability that has absolutely nothing to do with their offense of conviction. Why should someone who cheated on their taxes not be able to shoot skeet?

Love characterizes Bush's use of his pardon power as "doing just enough to avoid being labeled stingy." I call it grinch-like.

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  • Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#1)
    by Lww on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 04:45:16 PM EST
    Do I throw a wet blanket on the blogs in here? Sorry. Maybe if Bush had more well-heeled republican swindlers and drug dealers asking for pardons he'd do what your hero did; free all of them.

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 05:29:24 PM EST
    Oh lord, LWW, back to the "Clinton did it" mantra. And in case you missed it, Bush HAS pardoned swindlers and drug dealers. And let's say that Mark Rich (the Clinton pardon that everyone means) was the WORST pardon in the history of presidents, worse than even Satan himself could do. Does that suddenly relieve you of rationally adressing the issue of pardons?

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 06:19:10 PM EST
    Maybe der fuhrer is saving up all his pardons for all the criminals in his junta...Delay, Cunningham, Frist, Rove, Darth Chicaney, Dumsfeld, etc. If he blows his wad now there may not be enough pardons left by the time he and his pals are done raping/pillaging the country. Pardons to be awarded first followed by Medals of Honor for all.

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#4)
    by learned hound on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 06:28:49 PM EST
    Big surprise! The guy as governor who couldn't find people who were appropriate for clemency can't as president find people who he can pardon. Finding stuff is hard work for him. He can't find OBL, Mullah Omar, the anthrax guy, the person who leaked Plame, the person who leaked his secret prison, and the person who leaked his wiretaps. He can't find stuff. WTF do you expect from "the compassionate conservative"?

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimcee on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 06:53:34 PM EST
    Quite simply put, Who the h*ll cares. Rich was a bad clemency choice. I didn't know that Bush should give more pardons than his predecessors have. Is that a rule? Is there some sort of flat-rate clemency rate? Adjusted for inflation?

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#6)
    by Lww on Sun Dec 25, 2005 at 09:50:50 PM EST
    Dadler, what do you mean by the "Clinton did it mantra?" Where else should we be making comparisons? Abe Lincoln?

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#7)
    by john horse on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 07:11:49 AM EST
    re: Bush's stingy exercise of pardon Just call him Ebenezer.

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#8)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 08:22:42 AM EST
    Dadler:
    Does that suddenly relieve you of rationally adressing the issue of pardons?
    LWW's response:
    Where else should we be making comparisons? Abe Lincoln?
    I love it. He's mad as a hatter!

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#9)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 08:25:20 AM EST
    But now that he mentions it, yes, all presidents should be compared to Abraham Lincoln. I think most people would agree he set the benchmark. Heck, wasn't he the first Republican president or something? (Abe issued 343 pardons, by the way.)

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 10:56:44 AM EST
    Dadler - Maybe you missed the executives from WorldCom.. Ebers got 30 years.. Then we have Enron's CFO nailed and ready to rat out this ex-boss, Law who is going to trial next month. Then we have Nachio, US West's ex-CEo just charged with 42 (?) counts, etc., etc. BHAW

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#11)
    by Johnny on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 02:40:15 PM EST
    BHAW? I always wondered what the noise a jackass makes looked like when spelled out...

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#12)
    by john horse on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 04:04:35 PM EST
    I'm sure that Bush will show that the quality of mercy is not strained when his buddies are put behind bars.

    Re: Bush's Stingy Exercise of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 10:09:58 AM EST
    LWW, How about comparing it to the ideals we spout about freedom and liberty and equal justice for all? Do you think I defend Clinton in this area? He was the single biggest presidential disappointment of my lifetime. I simply cannot countenance the mantra about Clinton doing WHATEVER, because it is generally said in a manner that suggests this somehow excuses the act, and assumes that "liberals" excuse anything a "liberal" president/senator/whomever does. I mean, what ARE you saying? That because Clinton did it, that means I should agree with it? How about addressing it on its own merit, in its own context? That's all. Though I do always appreciate a good Abe Lincoln analogy. Abe born in a log cabin, Bush prefers Log Cabin syrup. Peace. Jimtastic, Drops in the proverbial bucket, my boy. A few grains of sand in the beach of corruption. See my above comment about Clinton and disappointment. Big money and big power corrupt everyone. To defend this administration's corporate oversight record based on a few high profile cases that ANY administration would have to support -- much less when they're good ol' buddies with the prez -- is just not the one-timer you hoped for. We've all gotta shoot for a much higher, much better standard than any "party" is aspiring to right now. Peace.