Will Scooter Libby Get a Pardon?

I don't think Bush will make any decision on a pardon for Scooter Libby before Judge Walton rules on the Appeal bond, and if denied, before the D.C. Court of Appeals reviews the bond decision. The White House said as much today.

The White House indicated today Bush will not act before Libby's appeal of his conviction is decided. I think that will take about a year.

Bush always says he doesn't want to interfere with the legal process. So that puts us at about June, 2008. Bush has until his last day in office in January, 2009 to issue the pardon.


If Libby doesn't get an appeal bond, and he surrenders in 45 to 60 days, he starts his sentence around June 15. If the appeal takes about a year from now and Bush waits until the appeal is over, that would mean Libby does a year or so of his sentence.

I think for political reasons, Bush will think that's okay and he's still doing Libby a favor by a later pardon. Better late than never.

I suspect one of the reasons he will give Libby a pardon is so that Libby can get his law license back and not be deprived of his livelihood.

I also think Libby's livelihood is a bogus excuse for a pardon. There will always be a right-wing think tank willing to pay Libby big bucks.

The New York Times reports Fred Thompson favors a pardon.

So, what do you think? Will Libby be pardoned and if so, in what time frame?

< Joseph and Valerie Wilson's Statement on Libby Sentencing | Legal Reaction to Scooter Libby Sentencing >
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    Of course he'll get a pardon (none / 0) (#1)
    by rdandrea on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 02:45:09 PM EST
    This president rewards loyalty.  What's more loyal than smearing people on your boss' orders, then falling on your sword to protect the boss?

    The pardon is a foregone conclusion.

    The real fun will be watching the republican candidates bloviate about it during tonight's debate.

    Miller Did Her Part (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 02:50:04 PM EST
    Bush always says he doesn't want to interfere with the legal process. So that puts us at about June, 2008. Bush has until his last day in office in January, 2009 to issue the pardon.

    Thanks to Judith Miller for delaying the case for a year, at most Libby will see one year in jail, that is if he doesn't avoid jail awaiting appeal.

    The timing is perfect for pardon. It will happen shortly after the November election. I have no doubt.

    The real question is will Libby change his tune if his appeal bond is turned down, and sing to Fitzgerald in order to avoid 15 or so of jail time.

    Reasons for postponement of a pardon (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mimir on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 02:50:28 PM EST
    A pardon would conclude the "proceedings," thereby removing the White House's feeble excuse for refusing to answer any questions about this scandal.

    So, no pardon before the appeal is decided.

    But then the Republican nominee may not want the pardon before November 2008, even if he had called for it.

    Frank Rich (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 02:53:18 PM EST
    wrote "Why Libby's Pardon Is a Slam Dunk" on March 11 in the NYT.

    It's behind the Times Select subscription wall but I quoted from it in Omertà: Taking Care Of Business? Or Burning The Bush?:

    Can George W. Bush preemptively pardon himself by pardoning Libby?

    It looks like he'll have to. Scooter Libby is one of those guys the old joke "We have to kill him - he knows too much" was the perfect description of. But Libby is too well known. Taking him out would be too obvious. So he has to be taken care of or his former bosses might have a vacation they'd rather not have.

    A president who tries to void laws he doesn't like by encumbering them with "signing statements" and who regards the Geneva Conventions as a nonbinding technicality isn't going to start playing by the rules now. His assertion last week that he is "pretty much going to stay out of" the Libby case is as credible as his pre-election vote of confidence in Donald Rumsfeld. The only real question about the pardon is whether Mr. Bush cares enough about his fellow Republicans' political fortunes to delay it until after Election Day 2008.

    Either way, the pardon is a must for Mr. Bush. He needs Mr. Libby to keep his mouth shut. Cheney's Cheney knows too much about covert administration schemes far darker than the smearing of Joseph Wilson.
    Ever since all the W.M.D. claims proved false, the administration has pleaded that it was duped by the same bad intelligence everyone else saw. But the nuclear card, the most persistent and gripping weapon in the prewar propaganda arsenal, was this White House's own special contrivance. Mr. Libby was present at its creation. He knows what Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney knew about the manufacture of this fiction and when they knew it.

    Thompson: Soft On Crime (none / 0) (#5)
    by RedHead on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 03:42:25 PM EST
    "Soft On Crime"

    "Weak on National Security"

    "Neo-Chicken Hawk"


    someone should dig up Freddies statements on whether Susan Mcdougal should be pardoned, when she was doing time.

    Also, his statements after the Mark Rich pardon.

    Make him choke on it.

    Yes, W will pardon Mr. Libby. (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 03:56:53 PM EST
    Why not?  It is his prerogative and he does what he likes with no consequences.  When?  On W's way out the door.    

    With apologies to Stephen Colbert (none / 0) (#7)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 05:02:38 PM EST
    Does a bear... in the woods?

    Will a pardon really get his law license back? (none / 0) (#8)
    by abeincicero on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 05:46:18 PM EST
    William Borders was convicted, got a pardon from Clinton, but still can't get his law license back.  

    If the only reason (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 05:50:29 PM EST
    his license was taken was a felony conviction, and Libby is pardoned, the felony conviction is gone and there should be no legal impediment to getting his license back.

    There may be other reasons not to re-license Libby, but he'd no long be disqualified by law from practicing.


    Maybe not (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 07:07:56 PM EST
    An acceptance of a pardon generally means an acceptance of guilt. If Libby accepts the pardon he is stating "I am guilty as charged."

    I am no expert, but it seem to me the fact he was pardoned will not clear him of the fact he committed a crime of dishonesty; or  the fact he lied to a tribunel; or of the catch all provision that a lawyer should avoid the apearance of an impropiety.

    I think your cautious response stating "if that is the only basis for the revocation" was justified.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by eric on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 10:58:34 AM EST
    Exactly.  I cannot believe a state would license a convicted felon after a pardon unless that pardon was based upon a finding that the person was in fact innocent.

    I found this opinion from the Texas AG which opines that a pardoned felon would not be entitled to be a cop.

    It even cites a Texas case where a lawyer was not entitled to his law license after a pardon.  Hankamer v. Templin, 187 S.W. 2d 549 (Tex. 1945).  There is probably similar case law elsewhere.

    Given the type of crime he has been convicted of, I do not think he gets his license back no matter what.


    Elliott Abrams (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:58:15 PM EST
    Got his disbarment vacated so should Libby.
    On January 20, 2001, The Honorable, then President, William Jefferson Clinton granted William A. "Bill" Borders, Jr., a Presidential Pardon. Like Elliott Abrams, Borders, was licensed before the District of Columbia Bar Association. He was a lawyer. Unlike Abrams, however, Borders is Black! Despite numerous attempts, he has not been granted permission to resume the practice of law by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. (For a historical discussion, see "Pardoned but Still Disbarred" by William Raspberry, June 23, 2003, Washington Post) As with all else, racism and egos stand between Borders and restoration of his license. Language in the District of Columbia (hereinafter D. C.) Code stands in the way of Borders. The specific language states:

    "Upon the granting of a pardon to a member so convicted, the court may vacate or modify the order of disbarment."



    Does anyone think. . . (none / 0) (#10)
    by naschkatze on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 06:28:26 PM EST
    . . . that if Libby is denied bail while pending his appeal, that the pardon might come sooner or later?

    I'm hoping even W wouldn't be that brash. (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 07:03:09 PM EST
    Ooops. (none / 0) (#11)
    by naschkatze on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 06:29:01 PM EST
    That should be sooner than later.

    What's the time requirement? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Johnbo on Tue Jun 05, 2007 at 09:51:48 PM EST
    I saw somewhere awhile back the guidelines for a presidential pardon and recall that a certain amount of time had to have pasted after the conviction before a pardon was allowed.  Also, the convicted party must show remorse.

    So, does anyone know anything about the time requirement?  It's relevant because I'm thinking Bush would probably rather pardon Libby BEFORE he goes to jail because it gets this thing out of the way before the election season is at a fever pitch next year AND it throws red meat to his base that is angry with him over immigration.  And, it fits with his profile of standing by his people - especially ones that show loyalty like Libby did by protecting Cheney.  To do that he may have to ignore the time requirement and the requirement for remorse.  

    But, when has Bush been concerned about the law?  He issues the pardon before Libby is jailed.