Pardon Whom?

The ACLU sent out an Email on December 4th joining a chorus of voices in declaring that Bush has the power to pardon crimes he authorized but shouldn’t use it. This is a step forward for many organizations and publications that have never supported impeachment or prosecution. But it is potentially less than helpful. The impeachment power was created precisely in case a president ever pardoned someone for a crime he was involved in. Both James Madison and George Mason made this argument. Bush has already committed this abuse by commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence and is likely to pardon him and others. To suppose that the pardon power permits the same action that the impeachment power was created to punish is absurd, and to grant the president that power while asking him to please not use it is misguided. Congress should be impeaching, passing bills, proposing amendments, and joining with courts and the president elect in making clear that such pardons will not be honored. One way to advance the debate is to recruit cosponsors for a resolution by Congressman Jerrold Nadler. Some Congress members have already signed on after 46,000 emails were sent. Please ask your representative.

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