December 1st, 2008
02:25 PM ET

Are presidential pardons a good idea?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More than 2,000 convicts are asking President George W. Bush for a pardon or a commutation of their prison sentences before he leaves office next month. Among them, junk bond king Michael Milken, media mogul Conrad Black and American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh. They've all applied to the Justice Department for this free pass of forgiveness.

Last week, the president issued 14 pardons and commuted two prison sentences, all for so-called "small time criminals." During his eight years in office, he's granted a total of 171 pardons and has commuted eight sentences. A president has complete freedom to pardon anyone he wishes, and he doesn't have to justify his decisions or explain himself to anyone.

For example, President Bush could also excuse people who have not been charged with any crimes in order to protect them in the future. People like former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and baseball pitcher Roger Clemens.

The White House has declined to comment about future pardons, but some people close to the president say they doubt he would take such action. He did, however, commute Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence. Libby was the only administration official convicted in connection with the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal.

So far President Bush has granted fewer than half the pardons Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan did.

Here’s my question to you: Are presidential pardons a good idea?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jeremy writes:
If used as they were intended, a check against potential injustices committed by an imperfect judiciary, then yes, pardons are a good idea. However, if they are used as they have been for the past few decades, a way to give your friends a "get out of jail free" card, then no, they aren't a good idea.

Brian writes:
Pardons have their place, but there should be more checks and balances for them so that they cannot be abused. When you effectively have a criminal enterprise running the White House, they can be a huge problem. Perhaps one limit could be that you cannot pardon yourself or anyone who has ever worked under you.

Annie from Atlanta, Georgia writes:
Absolutely not, especially before the indictments come down, which may be the case this go around. And since I'm still hopeful Bush faces charges, they should not be able to pardon themselves.

Pat from New York writes:
No pardons! You have done the crime, now you do the time.

Michael writes:
It makes a mockery of the judicial system. Why waste taxpayers’ money trying any friend of the president? Did anyone think “Scooter” would serve time? Presidential pardons should be stopped.

Terry from Ontario, Canada writes:
Presidential pardons sure. But Congress should have veto power.

Julie from Lansing, Michigan writes:
I keep waiting for “Dubya” to pardon O.J. Simpson. Why not one more monumental screw up as he leaves office to sum up his entire presidency?

soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. Steve Spangler

    A President should leave well enough alone. When someone has been convicted by the legal process and all the potential and actual appeals have been used (read abused) and the convicted party has still been found guilty, one individual should not have the power to subvert the entire legal process by penning his signature to paperwork submitted by some political hack.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  2. Gene in Mo

    Yes, if you have a smart president they can indo the wrongs of justice. Speaking of the two Border Patrol men who should of NEVER been inprisoned. Haven't heard them mentioned come to think of it.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  3. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    These are only a good idea if they are well considered, well thought out and are for a good reason. They should not come at the last minute as a favor to unscrupulous friends.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  4. KCLaw

    Not under the circumstances that receive the most publicity- those last minute end of term paybacks. Clinton had Mark Rich, among other wealthy favor seekers who had the connections and the expensive lawyers to get their Petition before the President.
    Bush has -well gosh, too many to list if we want to be comprehensive on all those who probably will need them.
    The "average joe" does not get to participate in this little game, like much of what happens in DC these days.
    Simply put, the way it has been done lately is both sleazy, and a detriment to the dignity of the Office of the President.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  5. Greg in Cabot AR

    Only if you are the convicted crook that needs one.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  6. Kerry Diehl

    Yes, if indeed they are used to pardon someone who is innocent or undeserving of a sentence. Especially when viewed as such by the majority of citizens.

    No and never when it's used as a "Get-out-of-Jail" card for fellow political cronies, high level corporate crooks and the likes.

    The last bit of respect I had for President Bush has been lost with his lack of pardons for Ramos and Campeon. The others he has pardoned are nothing more than political cronies and druggies! More shame on him!!

    December 1, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  7. C from GA

    They could be, if we actually had a president who deserved the title.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  8. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    Presidential pardons are only a good idea when politics isn't involved. In the modern era, pardons have become a political pawn in the game of life inside the D.C. Beltway and that isn't the purpose it was designed for.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  9. Katiec Pekin, IL

    No, Jack, they are not. Do not even know why they were started or are allowed.
    There are strong rumors Bush will give his staff and cronies
    blanket pardons, evidently resulting in there not allowing any
    charges be brought against them.
    This will give Rove, etc a free pass on all they crimes they
    have committed. Also, Bush, Cheny.
    This injustice should be eliminated.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  10. hugh ~ california

    When a president shows he is willing to grant mercy to those who have been sentenced by an unreasonable judge or jury, it is a good and noble act of kindness. When a president pardons those in his own administration it is corruption.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  11. Carl Deshazer

    In my opion, Presidential pardons are a good thing if done properly and for the right reasons. The truth is, most pardons are given mainly to return favors, or to some how line the presidents pockets with more money. You can probably tell by my comments that i'am very sick of politicians right now.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  12. Karen - Nashville TN

    I'm in favor of pardons when they involve ordinary people who made a mistake, paid the price, and have lived exemplary lives since. It humanizes the president. I'm not in favor of pardoning friends, relatives and political cronies, or "purchased" pardons like that of Marc Rich.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  13. Philip from Toronto

    Only if it is for two unjustly convicted Border Guards.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  14. Mike S.,New Orleans

    The founding fathers had many good reasons why pardons should be available to a President, mostly to balance out unjust punishments. Just because a President abuses power, manipulates intelligence, politicizes the Justice Department, and destroys those who disagree with him doesn't mean the pardon mechanism should be replaced. Just replace the President.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  15. Kim Caldwell

    Never, unless there was gross miscarriage of justice in a case.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  16. Jenna Wade

    Are presidential pardons a good idea?

    Yes, they are a good idea, but there should be some limitations.

    Some limitations to consider:

    You can't pardon people who have worked in your administration and committed crimes on your behalf.

    You can't pardon people from previous administrations who have broken our laws or violated our Constitution. (Nixon comes to mind)

    You can't pardon yourself.

    Pardons should be used when our laws don't work as intended and not as political tool.

    Roseville CA

    December 1, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  17. Lene' from IL

    I guess it depends on the motivation of the one giving the pardons. I think it is misused more than used to correct judicial wrongs. I don't see any good sense being taken so maybe they should just do away with it. Just like Ramos and Compean, the border guards in prison for do their jobs, Bush is likely to let more drug smugglers out than these two men. ...I think it is good when used to right a wrong and bad when used to bailout minions of a bad government.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  18. Bizz, Quarryville, Pa.

    If you are a senator from Alaska or a person with a nickname scooter that worked for the vice president makes presidential pardons a good thing. But for the country I think its stinks it shows disrespect to our justice system. It proves that if you have friends in high places you can commit crimes and laugh at the judges, prosecutors and the jurors that found you guilty.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  19. Glenn in California

    Jack, it's one of those questions for which the answer is, "it depends." They're a great idea when it comes to cases like Ramos and Compean. They should have been pardoned on day one and their case shows that there are problems with our legal system the way it is. HOWEVER, the case of Scooter Libby shows that presidential pardons can be a bad idea. Bush let his personal feelings get in the way. He was too close to the situation and shouldn't have touched it with a 10 foot pole. Like many things in life, whether or not presidential pardons are a good idea depends on who's making the decision. After January 20, 2009, they will once more be a good idea. Until then, there should be a moritorium since we know George Bush can't make a good decision to save his life.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  20. John

    Jack: Presidential Pardons are not always a good idea. It sets aside a jury's decision and a judge's sentencing. If there were several hung juries before a guilty verdict was found it might be a good one to be reviewed by the President. If the law and the enforcement of a law is difficult to understand then maybe a review for possible pardoning is required.


    December 1, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Pardons by the president are, and always have been a bad idea.
    It's nothing more then a get out of jail free card for elected officials to use for there cronies and corupt corporate activities.

    It breeds contempt from the public and adds to the already mounting distrust of the government.

    What ever happend to "nobody is above the law"?

    December 1, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  22. carol in Oregon

    Its probably another type of bailout for the rich and famous.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  23. Ed Reed

    There probably are circumstances where a presidential pardon is justified, but they're being abused. It's a dangerous precedent for a President to pardon members of his own administration, who helped covering up his violations of the law.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    December 1, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  24. Joe in DE

    Many Prsidential pardons have been disgusting. Congress should have avote to accept or reject.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  25. Jackie in Dallas

    As a preemptory measure to protect one's political allies - a very bad idea, as it makes people above the law and immune to paying for bad judgement.

    As a use in a case after a trial and appeals cycle, and due to a philosophic difference with a law that needs rethinking, they can play a role.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  26. Daniel Ambrose

    Yes if it is used correctly and not for the intended purpose of favoritism.

    Daniel Ambrose,
    Atlanta, GA

    December 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  27. Atlanta Charlie

    Jack, I think they are good when used appropriately. Unfortunately, every president that I can recall (and that goes back more years than I would like to admit) has abused the power.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  28. Brian from BC

    In theory, Presidential pardons are a good thing. Too often is the power abused in the twilight of a president's term. With no repercussions save to their legacy, the outgoing President is free to excuse the sins of his political vassals, and technically, his own.

    The solution to the problem of last minute pardons is to limit the President from making pardons during the final year of their period in office, thereby making them accountable and possibly impeachable.

    I also think that the Senate and House should be given the ability to overturn Presidential pardons is both of them vote in the majority to nullify.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  29. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    No, presidential pardons aren't a good idea and is an infringement on the judicial system and doesn't give every felon equal opportunity.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  30. don in naples, florida


    December 1, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  31. harrynok

    definitly not!!! the pardons will be just a cover up for all the wrongs he's done; i would like to know how the investigation is going on that secret meeting that chaney held in alaska; but a pardon will just excuse that meeting.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  32. Glen (Auckland, New Zealand)

    I think presidential pardons encourage "favours for friends and donors" – I'm not sure what kind of checks & balances there are, but surely any pardon needs to be vetted for bias before being granted?

    December 1, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  33. Erik

    Presidential pardons are a good idea if they're used to give justice to those who are wrongly accused. However, I can't recall any cases off the top of my head that fits that category. I don't envision any pardons in the near future to fit that category either. Presidential pardons, as they are used now, remind me of the line Mel Brooks repeats in "History of the World, Part 1" when he says, "It's good to be the king."

    McDonough, GA

    December 1, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  34. odessa

    you should only pardon people if they learn their lesson not rich folks..bush only pardons people that gives him favors..the pardon process shouldn't be a long process to apply for one..it should be a fair process to get a pardon because life is too short..

    December 1, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  35. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    I think presidential pardons are misused and abused. How can anyone be pardoned when no charges, etc. have been made, such as the Nixon pardon? Pardons should only be given for a misuse of justice/convictions, as in the two border patrol agents that were jailed for doing their job. (I still can't figure out how a drug dealer from another country got in contact with the prosecutor to begin with.) They should be pardoned and given their life back. Political hacks that have gotten caught with their hand in the till or pulling shady deals should pay the price. And the number of pardons allowed to each president should be limited to maybe two per year if that, with an explanation to the public of why they were given.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  36. Denis Duffy

    Only if you are the one being pardoned. These last gasp pardons are an affront to the justice system. After the way this president has let down the American people, he should be begging our pardon.

    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  37. Enrique

    Pardons have certainly served as a way to address the inadequacy of certain laws or with the advantage of hindsight a more just outcome.

    However it has also served to pardon high profile criminals with significant influence.

    Do the positives of the former outweigh the negatives of the latter? I say yes.

    Perhaps presidents should only be allowed to pardon in the first year of their administration, that way they need to live with the consequences of their decisions.

    The fact that it is mostly done at the end of their administrations only adds to the true or perceived sleaziness of their actions.

    Avon, CT

    December 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  38. Linda in Florida

    They should not be a "get out of jail free" card for those who don't deserve it. However, we have two border guards should never have been prosecuted, put in jail, etc., yet I haven't heard their names mentioned for a Presidential pardon!

    December 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  39. dan in Tucson

    Absolutely not. No single individual should ever have that much power. Where did this power come from anyway? I don't think it was written into our original constitution.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  40. David in San Diego

    Any time a President inadvertently bumps into someone, saying "Pardon me–so sorry" would be the polite thing to do. If it was intentional, no such comment is needed.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  41. Allan Hanson Cameron Park Ca.

    Only to overturn bad convictions , not to pardon all your cronies. This has been the usual abuse of President pardons.
    By no means Bush and all his neocon buddies that got us into this mess be pardoned.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  42. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Yes, Presidential Pardons are a good idea because our justice system is pretty messed up. It's good to have the ability to set someone free. Does the Presidential Pardon get abused? Probably, but so does the first ammendment. That doesn't mean we should get rid of it.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  43. KC in Kremmling, Colorado

    Presidential Pardons are a necessary evil. The only problem is that guilty people are now getting out of prison. I think the whole process was put into effect to get people released from prison that had served enough time to cover their crime.
    We have Boarder Security Guards in jail for defending our Country. Something has to be wrong with the whole system.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  44. Terry from North Carolina

    Not a good idea, too much politics involved.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  45. David, Tampa, Fl

    Yes and no. In some cases they undo an injustice. In others, they do no justice to anyone and free those deserving of punishment. If used they should be used sparingly and never for political considerations.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  46. Scooter - Cell block G

    You betcha.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  47. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Only if you are the beneficiary of one.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  48. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    NO! And that includes the turkeys!

    December 1, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  49. Ralph, Corpus Christi

    Pardon me, but no.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  50. Mickie in Stallion Springs, CA

    No way! There is a process in place, while not perfect, to protect the wrongly convicted. Look at those who have been pardoned so far by this President. Were they wrongly convicted? Unreasonably punished? I don't think so.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  51. Osbert

    Jack, very bad idea because who is going to pardon President bush when he charge for war crimes. New york

    December 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  52. Mark in OKC

    Yes, for people who deserve them. NOT for political donors or contributors who have broken the law and then PAY for their pardons. Bill Clinton's last minute pardons were not only cowardly, but disgraceful!

    December 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  53. lynnej from lattimore, nc

    It depends on how the pardons are being issued. But there should be a criteria change in getting one. There should be some merits for the President to have to follow.

    If it is for someone whom was arrested as a teen for anything short of murder and served their time and is now doing good works in the community and/or a law-abidding citizen whom hasn't been arrested since, yes wipe their slate clean.

    People whom have been falsely convicted in crimes that they didn't not committ also are eligible.

    As for people whom are jailed, it depends on their character while in jail, their crime and how they have bettered themselves while incarcerated.

    But under no circumstances are people whom are members of one's administration or associated with it should be given a pardon. No more Mark Rich pardons. Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney sweat.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  54. Michael watching from Canada


    Let me ask whether it makes sense for the Commissioner of the NFL to review all football games and overturn decisions that referees make, which ultimately changes the outcome of football games? Would it make sense for the Commissioner to change last year's Super Bowl, thereby making New England the winner?

    December 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  55. pete in hamilton ontario

    only if the pardons are non partisan.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  56. Mary from Houston, tx

    Wonder if w bush realizes that the bush/cheney administration is the worst in US history, and the crimes may necessitate pardons?

    December 1, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  57. Annie, Atlanta

    Absolutely not, especially before the indictments come down, which may be the case this go around. And since I'm still hopeful Bush faces charges, they should not be able to pardon themselves.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  58. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    Get out of jail free should only exist in Monopoly. This is something left over from the Old World, when they had monarchys. It needs to go away.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  59. Don Fort Gratiot MI

    Only for Turkeys Jack.. you know, the ones that say gobble gobble. The other turkeys can sit in there and serve out their terms...

    December 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  60. John Illinois

    Only for a President that deserves that title!

    December 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  61. Judy, Exeter, Ca

    No it is not a good idea. When I look at the pardons made by George Bush, it appears he is thumbing his nose at the laws of this country. It is merely a game to him.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  62. Lynn, CA

    Presidential pardons should be limited to cases of injustice as in the Border Patrol Agents, but there should not be a pardon given to anyone in the sitting President's Administration, nor to the Ex-President by the New President – talk about injustice!

    December 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  63. Ken in Pinon Hills California

    . IIgnacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the two Border Patrol Guards shot a Mexican drug dealer in the butt while smuggling dope across the border and now are serving time in prison. They were put there by a Texas court.
    Chances they will not be pardoned if they a Democrats, or any other Democrat for that matter.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  64. Jim from Chicago

    Are presidential pardons a good idea? Tell me how much money you have to donate to the President's and his party's campaign funds and I will let you know.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  65. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    In some instances – Yes! Particularly in the cases of the Border Control people who are jailed because they shot an illegal alien who was bringing drugs into the US. What are their jobs? In my opinion,they should be commended on their fine work. I am not in favor of pardons doled out as polical favors.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  66. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    No they are not a good idea. I know, you know and the people know these are done out of favortism or paybacks. This goes for the governors as well.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  67. Steve

    Yes. To anyone who wants to throw away this last resort safeguard for the wrongly convicted: I hope you get thrown in jail for a crime you didn't commit. I'm certain you'd trade 1000 politically motivated pardons for the right to get yours.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  68. Tina (Texas)

    Not when it comes to Mr Bush. He will pardon himself, Dick, Donald, Scooter, Alberto and Harriett and then every drug dealer that the cops worked so hard to get them away from our children.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  69. Dan, Chantilly VA

    No, no, and a thousand times no. No one person should ever have the infallible power to decide who does and does not go to prison. It's a system just begging to be abused.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  70. Thom Richer

    Absolutely ridiculous. What purpose do they serve? There are thousands of innocents in prison that we are unaware of and no one is aiding them. Why pardon a select few? Why would one deserve a pardon while the others serve out their time? Not only that, most of the time they pardon cronies. No,it is a foolish and frivolous use of power. If anything, this year, the president himself belongs behind bars. Oh, pardon me.

    Negaunee, MI

    December 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  71. ronald lawson

    i think pardons are a great tool to make right the conviction that were obtained on charges that should never been brought in the first place.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  72. Dave in Saint Louis

    Yes! It has and always been that way! It is life just because you don't like the President does not mean he does not deserve to have the same right to pardon as all the other Presidents have had.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  73. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    The concept of a Presidential pardon is fine, but unfortunately it is a power that gets misused at the end of every term. Friends and cronies get the nod, while others that may be more deserving are left wanting.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  74. Joe from Bryan, TX.

    No Jack they are not. You get trash like Scooter Libby and all the crooks in the savings and loan bail out getting a free ride. It ranks next to no bid contracts. These people are trash and should serve the time the court said to serve. Makes me mad that I have to take off work at no pay to be on a court and if the guy is plugged in with Junior or the president at the time they get a free pass. It`s just nuts.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  75. Kerry in Florida

    I think that pardons should only be used on those found innocent by DNA tests or other bogus convictions just to get a sentence or during an election of a DA or whatever.

    These pardons we see every time a President leaves office now has been for the most part, guilty individuals who don't deserve a pardon just because someone is leaving office...

    December 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  76. Jennifer F.

    That would depend on whether the judicial system had botched things up. You know, like those guys on the Mexican Border Patrol that shot a drug dealer. Yeah, people like them should be pardoned.

    Jennifer F., Tupelo, Mississippi

    December 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  77. Theresa in Atlanta

    I say preserve the tradition of presidential pardons so long as they don't extend to the crimes committed by one's co-conspirators. By using that logic Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld should all be sharing a cell with dubya and their "new" friends.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  78. Bill Davis

    No, pardons are a bad idea. It's a perk handed down to presidents from monarchies. The Kings and queens of England may have had the ability to pardon criminals but I thought our government was designed to get away from all that.

    Bill Davis
    Champaign, IL

    December 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  79. Brian Becker

    Pardons have their place, but there should be more checks and balances for them so that they cannot be abused. When you effectively have a criminal enterprise running the White House, they can be a huge problem. Perhaps one limit could be that you cannot pardon yourself or anyone who has ever worked under you. That might just be enough to fix the pardon system.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  80. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Pardons are a great way to raise money for your Presidential Library!

    December 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  81. kenneth sibbett

    If a Governor can stop an execution, I guess a President should be able to pardon someone he worked with while in office.

    Kenneth Chadbourn N.C.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  82. Kyle- DuPont, WA

    I beleive that they should serve as the final adjudication authority for anyone who has been wrongly convicted. We have seen recently a slew of Death Row inmates being released based on new DNA evidence. A presidential pardon should be the ultimate guarantee of justice.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  83. Don (Ottawa)

    Presidential pardons are not a good idea as they give one man power over the courts. As they say, no one is above the law and that includes the president and his buddies.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  84. Janice Pound

    Presidental pardons should be used for those whose punishment does not fit the crime. But we know it frees friends and thoise who worked for the president in a criminal fashion.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  85. Howard M. Bolingbrook IL

    I don't think Presidential pardons are a bad idea. I do think, that because their are no real standards for what qualifies a person to be eligible for said pardons, should be a (problem) concern.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  86. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Only to those being pardoned. The rest of the world sees it as being easy on crime, especially criminals that are friends of the POTUS..

    December 1, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  87. Barb New Port Richey Fl

    Absolutely no! I thought we elected him President, not a Judge and Jury!

    December 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  88. Richard McKinney, Texas

    I think that presidential pardons take the justice out of law. Giving one individual that kind of fleeting power is just dumb. There is no recourse for victims and it circumvents the judicial system. The only plus side to this concept is that it gives the president a chance to pay back old debts with no expense to themselves. It is an outdated concept and needs to perish in modern society.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  89. Tom

    No they are not, remember Scotter Libby smiling at the front steps to the court house at sentencing? He knew Georgi boy would grant him a pardon two hours after.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  90. Tom in Desoto, TX

    I'm not in need of a pardon, but I would like to know what they cost? In a recession I wonder if they are cheaper now? Perhaps I could purchase one and bank it for a rainy day?

    December 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  91. Marie Ontario

    Only the rich and powerful should be able to receive pardons from the President as that is the American way. You know how we think Jack, the rich gotta get richer if we poorer people are going to be able to survive.

    Kind of like we think when it comes to the taxation scales.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  92. B-Koi Vancouver Island, BC

    Not for cronies that have been sentenced for crimes that have done terrible harm to the American people.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  93. Alex

    If the pardons wouldn't be for people whose first name is Scooter, then maybe it would be a good idea.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  94. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    Yeah, they're a good idea if issued judiciously with common sense and good judgement. They should not be used to pay off political favors and past campaign contributions like they were used in the final days of the Clinton administration. The way I look at it, naive as it may be, if a presidential pardon makes sense, it should've always made sense and not something that had to be snuck in the last days of a lame duck administration. Presidential pardons should made all through an administration's tenor in an honest, forthright manner where the voters can view it and decide whether it was truly granted out of fairness.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  95. Mary - California

    It depends on the President. If he pardons his "buddies", then he is abusing the judicial system. What I don't understand is why Bush is not making an effort to pardon the two border patrol agents, who were doing their job and should not be in jail. This is abuse of the judicial system and it is very sad that Bush isn't even trying to release these two men.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  96. Tim Pittsburgh

    yes, but should be amended not to include government staff or employees.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  97. LM from Fayetteville, NC

    Outside of the Border Patrol men who "we" elected to throw in jail for no good reason out side of protecting themselves and doing their job.........I vote NO on pardons.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  98. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI


    The Presidential Pardon is a good thing when used properly. However, I'm in favor of adding a constitutional amendment to curtail the power of this, namely to disallow pardoning anyone directly related to the President (work or family), and an outright ban of pardoning the immediate past President–to show that the office of President is not above this country's laws.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  99. Pam

    Presidents should not pardon at the end of their terms but use this tool to reverse sentences, throughout their presidency, that have been excessive or proven wrong because of uneven judicial systems. It is a proven fact that there are instances within the judicial system that have wrongly convicted citizens because of various circumstances. The circus like atmosphere around pardons at the end of each presidency is a distraction and tends to further undermine our confidence in the judicial system.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  100. wally Ruehmann las vegas nv

    the two boarder guards that shot the drug smuggler, would think so...and so would the millions of people that support them...

    December 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  101. Anthony Smith

    No! But I'm pretty sure that he will need to pardon himself when it is all said and done! Also, add Libby, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rove to the mix!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    December 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  102. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    When I recall all the crimes committed by religious organizations like the physical, mental and sexual abuses of children over the years with very few of them being brought to justice simply because they were religious organizations I can hardly see how Presidential pardons should even raise an eyebrow.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  103. Dee in Florida

    It depends on the President. I think some Presidents may give pardons to deserving people. It remains to be seen if Bush's pardons will be as horrible as the rest of his tenure as President!

    December 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  104. pat from NY

    NO pardon's ! you have done the crime now you do the time

    December 1, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  105. Terry in Hanover County

    Presidential pardons should only be used in cases of wrongful conviction (e.g., the border guards) where the proof of same is clear and convincing. Too often these pardons are used to free friends or friends of friends of the sitting President. If the convictions were politically motivated (e.g., Susan McDougal who defied Ken Starr), that would be one thing; but in almost all recent cases, these convictions were due to actual criminal activity on the part of the felon. Those criminals should do their time just like other politically unconnected felons do every day.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  106. D. R. Texas

    It only depends who he pordens. First at all he should pardon the 2 border partroles !!!!!!!

    December 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  107. Mickie

    NO! I don't think presidents such as Bush know anything about the law and who should be or should not be pardoned. Presidents should not be able to pardon any of those who were convicted for doing his dirty work (i.e., Scooter Libby, et al). Obviously he will return favor for favor or they may end up telling all. I am sick of this Country ignoring the crimes of our own elected officials and then having the gall to point out those of other Countries. Loving my Country has absolutely nothing to do with covering the crimes committed by officials.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  108. Janice Illinois

    No, It's my hope that this president will be needing a pardon himself!!!

    December 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  109. Marge in New Port Richey, Florida

    No, they are not a good idea. Imagine if Bush pardons OJ? The office of the President is powerful but it should not be above the law. By allowing the President to grant pardons, the ones on the receiving end are, in essence, above the law. If someone breaks the law they should have to pay their dues in full.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  110. just me

    Face it. The only pardons Bush will give is to himself and his cronies so they can avoid being held accountable for their 8 years of crimes and misdeeds! Presidential pardons are wrong –if you did the crime pay the fine!

    December 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  111. Linda - Reno, Nevada

    No – only for a wrongful conviction – not for individuals or corporations who have hurt the American people.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  112. Irv Lilley

    Jack, Just today I wrote an email to Pres. Bush. I asked why he had not done anything about Ramos and Compean. I told him that if he would do ssomething to exonerate or commute their sentences , it would raise my opinion of him. I doubt he will even get the message.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  113. gary saari

    Presidential pardons are a good idea only if the person being pardoned doesn't have a political or personal relationship with the president, a financial relationship, or something in common such as the fear of being indicted for some criminal activity as a co-conspirator. Other things should be considered such as is there new evidence that possibly could exonerate the individual or the sentence appears to be too long to fit the crime. I'm an ex-cop, so I might be a little prejudicial, but I trust more of the people that I put in prison over my 25 years of service than I would any politician, especially those with the Republican brand.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  114. Diana NJ

    I agree with Gene in Mo..... He should pardon those Border Guards who NEVER should have been locked up...

    December 1, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  115. Paul

    Presidential pardons are like executive privilege when it comes to the president: They do not have to make sense and they have no right to grant them.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  116. Jake, Oregon

    The presidential pardons have become a farce. A last ditch effort of a president to invoke cronyism. They have become nothing more than a vehicle to clear thieves and robbers and those who possess and inflict the lowest form of leadership qualities of administrations. It is one presidential power that in recent years has shown that limits would properly be in order.
    Especially when invoked with a smirk, a wink and a nod.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  117. Terry "the hillbilly Hooser"

    Does that include the president pardening himself?

    December 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  118. Michael from Greenfield, Wi.

    Nothing is perfect, you just have to hope that the President will have some scruples and care about his place in history. The Presidents right to pardon doesn't protect anybody who has commited crimes that can come under the jurisdiction of the World Court, so there are some checks and balances here. Iraq comes to mind.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm |

    No, I don't think it is a good idea for politics to to be involved. Take Bush for instance, he will be more interested in pardoning the ones that scratch his back. I do think Obama will be more fair though.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  120. roman nakonechny, corbin, KY

    Yes, pardons are a useful tool that is underutilized. It's a fact that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world and I suppose that's the way the system works with plea bargains, Allford pleas, etc. I'm sure there are a lot of folks out there who made a bad judgement call, did their time, came back home to thier work and family and put their life back together. These people will never have their names in the national news and if anyone is deserving of having their rights restored, it is them, not the guys who can afford a PR firm to represent them. As to Ramos and Campion, the border guards, it will remain a taint on the Bush presidency if they remain in jail.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  121. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Nope, but post-administration criminal proceedings against the President are !

    December 1, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  122. Connor B

    Pardons only show that it pays to know people in high places. It's a rare case when one executive can surmise a person's innocence better than a judge and jury, and hence grant them a pardon for a crime they didn't commit.

    December 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  123. Sonny in SC

    not for political convicts, like scotter libby and Gonzalles,they knew they would get a pardon when they did their crimes,what would make them afraid to break the laws of the country?

    December 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  124. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Only if your name isn't Clinton.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  125. I. B., Rocky Mount, North Carolina

    Presidential pardons and commutations should only be allowed if it bring honor, dignity and compassion to the Office of the President of the United States. Pardons and commutations that bring corruption, favoritism, nepotism, cronyism and injustice to the Office are unacceptable. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  126. Angie


    Brian G, Sugar Land, TX December 1st, 2008 3:58 pm ET

    I couldn't agree with you more!!!
    they need to throw w under the jail for what he has done to this country.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  127. Diane Glasser

    No, and I think it should be limited to only 20 pardons per President. No pardon for any felon who has to serve more than one year.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  128. Charlotte from Charlotte

    WHY should crooks and thieves be pardoned????? They shouldn't – and presidents should not be allowed to pardon them.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  129. JW, Houston

    Only when I'm the one in jail.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  130. Maggie in NY

    Hi Jack, no I do not believe they are a good idea. Those people were convicted by a jury of their peers.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  131. Jay in Atlanta

    No. A president is not a king. If a civilization goes to the expense and trouble of prosecuting a law breaker, the punishment should stand.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  132. Pete, Fla.

    Of course they're a good idea. Doesn't every president want to go out with a bang?

    December 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  133. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Presidential pardons are worthwhile if they are used properly. Why Bush does not pardon those poor Border guards who shot the Narcotics dealer is beyond me. He will give pardons to criminals but to those defending our borders he and the government has really given them the shaft.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  134. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    No. Presidents shouldn't be allowed to pardon ANYONE. Especially when the president himself should be in jail.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  135. dave from NH.

    No their not a good idea, if scooter libby can be pardoned while the two border patrol agents sit in jail for doing their job, then no they are not a good idea. Until their used in a way of undoing injustice, which is far from the way their being used. I can't wait too see what kind of crap bush has in store for the next couple of months, it will no doubt be the biggest joke on the American and the world that he's pulled yet!

    December 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  136. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Pardons should only be practiced in cases of judicial error and human compassion, not because someone with the power to pardon is doing a political or personal favor. Have Presidents no shame?

    December 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  137. Larry

    I have never understood this policy

    What is the point or trials and courts if one person without explaination can undue with the stroke of a pen, those criminals that may have taken years to bring to justice

    December 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  138. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Throughout the term of office, as situations warrant presidential pardons can be a good thing. However, wholesale eleventh-hour pardons made just prior to leaving office have a very strong odor and should be eliminated. All presidential actions should be reviewable and reversable - even when they are already out of office.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  139. Jay-San Antonio

    Yeah they are a good idea. And no other than some rough flexible guidelines should not have any formal rules for using the privilidge.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  140. Ed in Tallahassee

    They are only as good of an idea as the people that are being pardoned. So in most cases they are a bad idea.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  141. Dr. B


    Presidential pardons are a bad idea. It just continues the circle of corruption. The president has people around him do the dirty work during the election and his time in office. Then at the end the President exonerates him or her of any wrong doing thus taking both the cronies and the President off the hook.

    Dr. B,
    Bloomington, Indiana.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  142. Raven, St. Louis, MO


    No! Pardons are a terrible idea no matter who is the president.

    Pardons should be outlawed.....PERIOD!

    December 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  143. David Pickett Janesville WI

    Yes, if you are in prison and W. knows your name and likes you.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  144. Ron from SF

    It all depends on who gets pardoned. Now if it's going to be political cronies, who are pardoned because they did Bush's dirty work, then no, pardons are a bad idea. If it's someone who is rotting in jail for unjust reasons, then it's a really good thing; The problem with this president is that his justice department was used as muscle for Karl Rove. On the 1st day he's in office, President Obama should pardon Don Siegelman, as his only crime was being a democrat.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  145. David Pickett Janesville WI

    Why not? How much more damage can that guy actually do?

    December 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  146. David Pickett Janesville WI

    I dont care what he does as long as he leaves on time!!!

    December 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  147. David Pickett Janesville WI

    Pardons are a great idea, just not in the hands of ol' dubya.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  148. jeh15

    Quite frankly, if the person deserves such a pardon then they should get one, not often do they deserve pardons. But this question reminds me of a recent political cartoon where the author has Bush pardoning Cheney and himself. That was right on and very funny.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  149. Pat in Hampstead, Maryland

    Jack – if a person is truly innocent of the crime then there would be no need for a pardon. However, if a person is unduly punished or given an unreasonable sentence then why wait for a Presidential pardon. It makes no sense. This should be handled in the courts not by the President. The double standard shines brightly when you consider these pardons for the likes of Scooter Libby and Richard Nixon.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  150. David Pickett Janesville WI

    Ask Scooter Libby.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  151. Abby Schmiesing

    No. The established legal system is how it is for a reason. Nobody should be above the law or able to take it into their own hands. Others have said that Presidential Pardons are appropriate when used for those who are "innocent or undeserving of a sentence". Is it, or should it be, the president's place to decide who does or who does not fit that description?

    Allowing one person, the president or otherwise, the power to single-handedly overturn the judgement of our legal system is a risky, unnecessary, and weakens our country.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  152. Michelle, PA

    No. Justice should be impartial, not political.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  153. Vickie

    Not for this President. Someone who cannot even pronounce nuclear is not intelligent enough to pardon someone. Hey he would have to ask Chaney!

    December 1, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  154. Mike, Albuquerque, NM

    When people are likely to be prosecuted under political persecution it is responsible for a president to protect parties from attacks and pardon them when convicted. He should also free nonviolent criminals that have been prosecuted for petty crimes like marijuana use.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  155. Ken in NC

    Jack, Presidential Pardons are good in the Bush Administration as long as President Bush does not forget to pardon himself.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  156. ozzi in AZ

    I don't think pardons are fair unless every prisoner in every jail in this country has their case reviewed. Who's to say who is innocent after being judged as guilty!?
    If someone was convicted after being judged by a jury in the legal system we 'say' is fair and just...then I don't think one man should have the power to over rule that judgment....especially George W.....who doesn't seem to have a terrific grasp of reality!!!

    December 1, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  157. Ramon Noches

    Presidential pardons seem to overide the separation of federal powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the govenment and should be discontinued.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  158. Ken from North Carolina

    I think by now the precedence has been set.
    At the same time this does bring into question the priciple of seperation of powers.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  159. Alan, Buxton Maine

    The legislative and judicial departments of government are separate for good reason. The president should not have the power to overturn any sentences arrived at by proper judicial process. The whole judicial system is dysfunctional and needs to be returned to a constitutional basis but so long as it is functioning the president should have no authority to disrupt it.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  160. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Yes! There are people in our prisons who are serving long sentences for the minor crime of simple drug possession. These people should all be pardoned by the President immediately and sent to drug re-hab. Most of them would finish their re-hab successfully,become productive citizens and save us all a lot of money. Prisons are nothing but a failure of a just society.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  161. Les Oklahoma

    I think that Pardons should be limited to only those who apply through Justice Department as required. Not pardon for crimes not yet gone to court such as Bush Administration personnel.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  162. Dina - Philadelphia, PA

    Heck No! Presidential Pardons are not a good idea! They did the crimes so they should be stuck with the results. Millions of people out there have committed crimes and are not pardoned by the President! It's like anything else, if you do it for some, you should do it for all! I don't care who the person is! How about not doing the crime at all! That's what they shouldn't be doing in the first place to even be placed on a Pardon List!!!

    December 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  163. Frann A in Los Angeles, CA

    Pardon me, but pardon them not. To formally wipe someone's slate clean who dirtied their own slate, no, no, no. To correct an injustice done to someone, yes. Milken, Black and Lindh are not victims, they are criminals. And it would be criminal to send that type of message.

    Let them find their redemptions and forgivenesses with their makers or religious leaders.

    Let him pardon my 401K that is now down 41% as of today's Dow drop 679.98 points. It needs forgiveness.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  164. Ken, Dallas, TX

    Are Presidents a good idea?

    The pardon power enables the president to resolve some issues by personal intervention that process fails to solve. It's a power, and its value rests in how wisely it's used, for good or ill. Thus, the impact of this power, and the answer to your question depend on ths character and judgment of the president himself. It seems right to have a final recourse somewhere, in cases where the justice system makes mistakes, and we must assume that the justice system can, does, and will make mistakes.

    So, if the presidency is a good idea, then it's as good a place as any for the power to pardon to reside. Now, if you take things president by president and case by case, some pardons are better than others, but the system is not and never will be perfect. Knowing that, isn't it best to make it easier to err on the side of mercy than in favor of a meaner justice?

    I know "mercy" is another of those disreputable liberal ideas, but it has some merit, hasn't it?

    December 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  165. Robin in SC

    I believe there are three branches of government for a reason. The Exeuctive Branch has no business getting involved in the Judicial Branch and pardoning or commuting sentences that have been handed down as the result of a fair trial by peers. HOWEVER, I do believe there are limited – VERY LIMITED – circumstances when a Presidential pardon or commutation would be appropriate. For example, criminals wo are ill or elderly and could not survive the duration of the slow moving wheels of justice to otherwise obtain freedom would justify a plea to the President. Clemons, the al-Queda kid, and the junk bond exec just don't fit that category.
    Robin in Anderson, SC

    December 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  166. chris from STL

    It should be abolished ...

    December 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  167. Karyn

    seeing as in the Military Commissions Act, (in a buried little section), Bush has already put into law that he and those of his administration will aquire immunity, I don't feel that Bush should be allowed anywhere near a pen to sign any more pardons.....

    as for 'pardoning himself' he already has by that amendment...... ADMITTED that he, (not to mention, those in his administration are already guilty of committing war crimes.

    he should not be allowed any more powers of 'pardons'....

    December 1, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  168. Andrew in Dearborn MI

    I don't think presidential pardons are acceptable. While it may have been constitutionally granted, it does not preserve the idea of balance of power that was framed in the constitution.

    Presuming a mistake has been made in the Judicial branch of the government, there is already a process for an individual to appeal the decision to a higher court for possible overturn. This system is already fair and just and needs no further checks and balances.

    Historically the pardon has been used in a positive way, such as was the case with Lincoln and the pardon of Civil War deserters, or Carter and draft dodgers. In these cases, the president was issuing the pardon because it was considered to be in the best interests of the nation. Maybe the constitution could be amended so that no individual can be pardoned for a single crime, but that groups of people can be pardoned for a shared cause and only with the consent of Congress.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  169. Tino

    No, no matter who the president is UNLESS it is proven that the person applying has been proven to be innocent OR the penalty was too harsh, e.g., life imprisonment for dealing drugs!!?

    December 1, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  170. Chief Mike Lee, USN (ret.) Jacksonville FL

    The Presidential Pardon is an excellent provision contained in the U.S. Constitution originally and never amended.

    "Good ideas" in bad hands do not discredit the notion.

    I am also very much a proponent of "jury nullification", and as a juror you can be absolutely certain I'll always render an independent verdict vote.
    We have too many "politicians" serving as prosecutors. I know of no more corrupt class within the United States.

    No politician can be completely trusted until you observed the buzzards actually LAND on him/her/it.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  171. Darren

    With all the criminals in his own administration in line to reveive a pardon, I bet George W. Bush thought it was great idea right from the onslaught of invading Iraq. God help those small-minded yesmen.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  172. Daniel, Indiana

    Political pardons are never a good idea. Pardons and commutations are good for those that have been wrongly convicted, but, unfortunately, those wrongly convicted are rarely pardoned.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  173. Dave Ennett from Canada

    Presidential Pardons are can be controversial, but I don't think they should be removed. When not abused, the power of a presidential pardon display the significance – and the importance – of the presidency. When citizens elect their leader, they are aware of the powers he or she will be entrusted with. Bill Clinton himself pardoned his brother.

    Sure Jack, it may be abused, but who cares the Lame Duck only has a little more than a month left.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  174. Jason

    Pardons should only be used when the individuals have been punished enough for their conduct. Under that logic, the American people should be pardoned after the punishment they have received through having to watch this President and will they be on January 20th.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  175. Cody

    No. It upsets the balance of power and gives the president powers you would normally associate with a king. Admittedly, the judicial system is not perfect. But neither is any president's judgment. Let each branch take care of their own business.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  176. Lynne - Boise, ID

    They are a good idea under certain circumstances. The problem is that most presidents use them on their way out of office. Instead, they should only be able to pardon people during their first 6 months in office so they are held accountable for their actions for the next 3 1/2 years. With this type of accountability and time constraints, the pardons would be better thought out and only used in rare circumstances.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  177. Bud, Columbia, Mo..

    They are if the people I like are pardoned and they're not if the people I don't like are.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  178. Lindsay

    Is our justice system so bad that the president should need to intervene? I would hope he would have bigger things to do, but I guess not. How did this rule come about anyway? I just seems unfair and wrong.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  179. Ric

    Would you rather he was handing out executions like some other world leaders do? If you took away or limited pardons, you would also have to eliminate vetoes, and the supreme court could no longer declare laws unconstitutional, and federal judges would choose their own members, and the president could declare war - wait.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  180. Jack in Fontana, CA

    To a certain extent, I think they are necessary, but overused–particularly by Reagan and Clinton. I think that, in order to keep the system of checks and balances working, Congress should be allowed to contest those pardons it sees as being highly dubious with SCOTUS.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  181. Michele from Quakertown, PA

    I think that Presidential pardons are great when used correctly. One man is able to slice between the intention of the law and the reality of a situation in a manner that our court systems are not. I think the only limit is that all pardons should be made by October 31 of the election year. This forces all pardons to come under the scrutiny of the electorate so they can make an informed decision on election day.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  182. JD, North Carolina

    Bush doesn't need to pardon his cronies. He's left the country in such a mess that the government will be too busy defusing disasters to try and pursue investigations and hearings.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  183. Bob D, Morristown, NJ


    Like anything else, it depends on who's making the decision, and who's receiving the benefit. Pardoning or commuting sentences for out-and-out, treason which actually threatened our intelligence assets, like the outing of Valerie Plane for pure political purposes is an instance of the abuse of this presidential privilege.

    However, political prisoners like Jonathon Pollard, whose acts, while technically treason did no harm to our country, and helped one of our most valued allies should be subject to a pardon or commutation.

    However, I would prefer to see this privilege in the hand of more than one person, perhaps a body such as the supreme court.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  184. A.E.

    I think our country can well afford to show sympathy and compassion -even for those that have abused our trust. However, to use this act of compassion and forgiveness politically should be criminal by itself. That being said, Congress should pass guidelines for pardons. A person's admission of guilt, restitution, and ability to make an ongoing contribution to our society should be basic. Any affiliation or relationship between the President and the person being pardoned should be forbidden. Afterall, if the merits warrant a pardon, why not let the next President pardon them. Makes it look more deserved than as a political payback.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  185. Timmy

    Bush should use his last pardon for himself...for his crime against the world for falsely leading us into Iraq and his crime against the families of soldiers that have lost their lives over the last 7 years.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  186. Sammy

    The question should rather be, should Bush be pardoned for his abuse of power, that lead to the death of so many soldiers and inncent Iraqi civilians???

    Jack, in fact I would really like to know people's view on whether Bush and his team (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove...) deserve to be pardonned or should they be convicted for all their lies and corrupt activities.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  187. Ethan of NJ

    The pardon as it is now is unchecked and absolute. This is too reminiscent of a power a king would have.
    I think that the pardon should have a check placed on it, preferably a judicial one.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  188. Karl in CA

    If it isn't used to pardon two unjustly convicted Border Guards, then it should be flushed. If the current president doesn't do it, it should be the first one for the next president. Every pardon should have to be individually and completely explained to the entire country on prime time television and radio. These last inning back room deals are an insult to American justice.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  189. Jacqueline

    Jack, I think it is a bad idea. If I were in jail, would the president pardon me? If you broke the law, you should be in jail, simple as that.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  190. Ryan, Philly

    It's a check on the judiciary.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  191. Rick Lusby Md

    Well, this is just one more thing he can RUB in the faces of the average working American men and women.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  192. Lou-Ny

    Yes. If you are an unethical, immoral law breaker; who happens to give lots of $$$$$ to the traitorous politicians.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  193. Rob in IA

    I think these are a good idea where the system is flawed, though it's only throwing a bandaid on the real problem. Obama, fix the judical system like you promised!!

    1 out of every 100 adults are in prison...many for drug use. Instead of dealing with the problem, getting these people help, we just throw them in prison. Isn't it ironic that the president-elect and the past two presidents all used drugs at one point? Irony is that each one of them could have had a felony if caught...but they weren't, so it's OK to become president then?

    December 1, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  194. Bruce from Florida

    One thing is for sure, watching a lame duck pardon a couple of turkeys provided a fair share of entertainment value

    December 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  195. Andrew in Dearborn MI

    I think presidential pardon's should be limited more than they are.

    Maybe the constitution could be amended so that members of the executive branch of the government would be exempt from receiving pardons until the next administration and provided they are no longer serving in that administration.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  196. RC in SC

    No pardons for the guilty

    December 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  197. Jay in Texas

    Yes, presidential pardons are one of the president's constitutional powers. Pressure should be applied, however, on every president to make sure he/she does not abuse this power by pardoning his/her political supporters or contributors. I must admit that I was quite surprised when reading over President Bush's choices for pardons. It appears that he used this power judiciously and fairly and did not abuse his power in this instance.
    Brownwood, Texas

    December 1, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  198. Kevin


    I am sick of the rules that allow the elite to take care of the elite.
    Pardons have been abused ever since their creation.
    They only give politicians the freedom to get away with corruption.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  199. Chris

    Not with outlaws in the White House, Jack.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  200. Alexander Haupt

    There is no American that should be able to trump our justice system with a stroke of his/her pen. The president is not a king - he works for us - the idea that he/she can just decide who will remain guilty and who will become innocent and totally disregard our judicial system is the most unAmerican think I can think of.

    I say do away with presidential pardons.

    December 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  201. Mark from New Jersey

    Presidential pardons should be used only in extrordinary circumstances to right a wrong or where the sentence has perpetrated an obvious injustice. They should not be used for any political purpose, in advance, or for anyone named "Karl" "Scooter" or "Dick", whether it is a name or a description, or for oneself.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  202. Mike in St. Pete Beach, Florida

    Yes, presidential pardons are a good resolution for the gray areas that occur in an imperfect legal system.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  203. David, Silver Spring, MD

    No, I don't think we should give President Bush a pardon.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  204. Judy Miami Fl

    why didn't they all have their day in court with the exception when there is a proven miscarriage of justice like in the case of hte two border patrols now imprisioned – what about them?

    there should be some overseeing of the process – too much power for one person – the USA belongs to all of us not just the powerful (I think),

    December 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  205. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Presidential Pardons stink and are an insult to our legal system, not to mention a direct slap in the face to law abiding Americans.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  206. bob

    bush should pardoned himself, he's going to need it....

    December 1, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  207. Jan

    Even though our forefathers included presidential pardons in the Constitution, the right of the president to pardon seems no different than the right of historical kings to pardon. We are not a monarchy, and this power seems out of place in a democracy.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  208. Tom Bulger

    Some people have been acting as though George Bush were a president. If you mean a Bush pardon, no way. He has never held himself accountable for anything so someone has to, better America than the World Court.

    If you mean pardoning all the poor jokers on death row we keep finding our through DNA are innocent, sure pardon them. Governor Ryan pardoned the death row inmates when DNA showed at least half of them innocent.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  209. Ahlam

    In President Bush's case, YES! He needs all the friends he can get as his presidency unwinds.

    -Ahlam, San Diego

    December 1, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  210. FreeNLovIt

    Every four year, all americans should be pardoned of wrongdoings and have a fresh start, but if they mess up again, they cant ever be pardoned again. I love the idea!! So even unknown little guys can be pardoned.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  211. Brian - Trinidad

    Forget whether its a good idea.How come nobody's making any 'Pardon Me' Bush jokes?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  212. James, Houston, TX.

    NO !!
    Presidential Pardons over ride the Court's System !
    Its the Executive, Judicial, and Congressional with equal powers!
    No Mas, No Menos !

    December 1, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  213. Jon Gill,philadelphia

    Used with the utmost care yes. Bush better pardon himself and Cheneyause if we have any sense they will be charged as the criminals they are after they leave office. Two much needed preemptive pardons.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  214. Samantha From Canada

    I'll keep it short and sweet...no.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  215. john illinois

    jack its ok .as long as he and cheney dont get one.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  216. Randall Huston

    I think presidential pardons can be a good idea but I also think it sends a bad message when presidents pardon those that might be able to give testimony against them in possible future legal actions.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  217. Terry Shewchuk

    Presidential Pardons sure.
    But congress should have veto power.

    Terry Shewchuk
    Consecon Ontario Canada

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  218. Ann

    Yes, but only if your last name is not Bush.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  219. Alex from Boston

    Pardons are only a good idea if the country wants the judiciary and the executive to be one person.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  220. Alex J.

    No. The President, like anyone else who holds a position in the government, is intended to be a public servant. Circumnavigation of our judicial system in no way serves the public.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  221. Jeremy

    If used as they were intended (a check against potential injustices committed by an imperfect judiciary), then yes, pardons are a good idea. However, if they are used as they have been for the past few decades (a way to give your friends a "get out of jail free" card), then no, they aren't a good idea.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  222. Al Raleigh

    Yes, but it takes someone with wisdom and good judgement. I don't think Bush has either.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  223. Robbie Capps

    Presidents should have this privilege, however it should be limited by having Congress or at least the Cabinet approve these pardons.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  224. Chris Bradley

    Presidential pardons would a great way to jump start the economy especially if the President modified them to more closely mirror the Roman Catholic Church's indulengences....Now accepting Visa, Master Card, and Discover!

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  225. Kieth Wagner

    NO!!!!!! They undermine the Justice system and open so many doors for political corruption. Libby would still be making people smile if his butt was in jail instead of on the street.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  226. Jim

    Of course Presidential pardons are necessary. Where would we find future politicians if it weren't for the pardons?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  227. Justin, Scarsdale, NY

    Can W. pardon himself?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  228. Matt

    It's a very bad idea. Why should the president – who's job it is to serve the people and uphold the constitution – should be given unchecked and unconditional power to exonerate criminals that have been found guilty by a jury of their peers? It's unconstitutional at the very least.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  229. Rudy Gartner

    Yes. But maybe not always. Personally, I'd like to see the two Border Patrol agents currently jailed for shooting a drug runner set free. But I'd rather not see Alberto Gonzales or Dick Cheney get tefloned.

    Maybe it's best that Bush just let me decide.

    Rudy Gartner
    Laguna Niguel, Ca

    December 1, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  230. Miguel

    There are clearly cases where the punishment doesn't fit the crime, so it is good to have the power. However, presidents have abused this power on the way out, because there is no price to pay. The consitution should be amended to require Congressional approval (simply majority), so that politicians have to face the consequences of freeing people that were convicted by a jury of their peers. If you let your friends off the hook, we can kick you out.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  231. Ed

    No way, what is this Boston Legal? The pardons should be a thing of the past, that's why we have a justice department. Even Pilot left it up to the system, regardless of who is in office it should be stopped.

    Ft Myers FL

    December 1, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  232. Val Herod

    Presidential pardons are a slap in the face of our law enforcement men & women. This practice should be abolished ASAP.
    Retired in East Tn.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  233. Keith S

    Pardons by governors and presidents are a terrible idea.

    If a law is too harsh, if a law is imprisoning people who should not be imprisoned - change the law for everyone.

    There should be no special breaks for the well-connected.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  234. Selby Chisholm

    Presidential pardons are a really good way for presidents to do something directly without the bureaucracy that they have had to deal with over their careers in politics. On the other hand a president should not be able to pardon an individual who worked directly under him and was appointed by himself.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  235. Richard Warner

    NOOOOOO Jack, Presidential pardons are "get out of jail free" cards. Is that justice under our constitution?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  236. Ben


    I don't have a problem with pardons as long as they go to someone who deserves it. Libby should be rotting in prison where as Border Patrol Agents and American Heroes Ramos and Compean should be pardoned. It's disgusting that President Bush has not pardoned them.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  237. Kirk Williams

    Absolutely! I will not question the wisdom of the founding fathers. They put that in the constitution for a good reason.
    Peoria, Arizona

    December 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  238. Dave from Toronto


    Can President Bush give himself a pardon?

    He may need future immunity for his crimes against humanity in Iraq and the proliferation of obscene greed on Wall Street.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  239. Casper Wilhelm

    I,m waqiting to see if the two Border Patrol Agents who shot a drug smuggler are pardoned. Until they are this case is a smudge on the integrity of the Government and Presidential Pardons are ajoke and political./

    December 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  240. Fran Cassanto


    The first ones who should be pardoned are the border agents, Ramos and Compean, who are serving lengthy prison terms for shooting a drug pusher. This was a terrible miscarriage of justice. But, I don't think Bush will do that. He has been irrational and cold-hearted for the past 8 years, so why should he show any intelligence now?

    Spring City, PA

    December 1, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  241. chris cherry valley

    Can he pardon himself? If so ,then it is a terrible idea !

    December 1, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  242. Michael V. Ryan

    It makes a mockery of the judicial system. Why waste taxpayers money trying any friend of the president? Did anyone think “Scooter” would serve time? “Presidential Pardons” should be stopped.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  243. Cecilia Gerdes

    Re: Are Presidential Pardons a Good Idea!!

    Definitely not!! Where this started I don't know, but I cannot believe this actually happens in this country this day and age.


    December 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  244. Mike McKibben, lady lake, Fl

    When Presidential Pardons become a means to release people from criminal liability from crimes committed with your knowledge or blessing, crimes where the one giving the Pardon has culpability, or Pardons of crimes yet to come, then this is an abuse of the Pardon power, and should fall under great scrutiny. Nor should it be permitted.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  245. Lex from NYC

    No, no, and NO. A president may have the rights of the executive office, and may have been elected by the people, but does that mean they must or can have influence on the judicial spectrum? It's what presidents seem to be doing all of a sudden, pardoning some big time drug sellers or former C.E.O.s involved in huge scandals RIGHT before they leave office... do they owe them a favor or something? I can't think of any other reason. Bill did the same thing around the same time, too. Either way, it's like having a president who proposes a bill and runs off to his senate seat to vote for it, except on the judicial side. It's not right.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  246. BALU

    Presidential Pardons have no place in a democracy.

    By the way under the present system,

    1. President Bush can grant 'anticipatory' Presidential Pardon to Vice President Cheney.

    2. Step down from Presidency, letting Mr. Cheney taking over as President.

    3. President Cheney grant 'anticipatory' Presidential Pardon to Mr. Bush.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  247. Brian W from Buffalo, New York

    I don't think so. While it would be nice if presidents focused on correcting injustices, such as freeing wrongly convicted prisoners, the Presidential Pardon has been perverted, like so many other well-intentioned laws, into yet another method by which Washington insiders can protect their own and reward the loyalty (read: $) of those who have provided it. This isn't a monarchy – if it takes a jury to decide who gets sent to prison, why should one man have the power to decide which criminal gets a pass?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  248. Cullen Anderson

    Presidential pardons are a horrible idea especially because they always seem to benefit wealthy white-collar criminals, while hundreds of men languish on death row for crimes they did not commit. It also seems that little to no evidence is provided to prove the criminal's innocence. Presidential pardons should subject to the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, better yet the Supreme Court should have to agree with a majority vote that pardoning a criminal would not be detrimental to society.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  249. tim myers

    Why i think it's a FANTASTIC idea! Who came up with this one? Wh
    ile we're at it let's get those harmless fellas off of death row as well? Barack, i know you didn't promise anything on this one, but could you PLEASE put an end to this ridiculous idea?

    Portland Maine

    December 1, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  250. Dan in Texas


    Pardons are only good if they are to free innocent men like Ramos and Compean . Two federal agents jailed for doing their job. They should be first on the list to be pardoned!

    December 1, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  251. Gianni

    Presidential pardons, as they are currently structured, are not a wise or justifiable provision. No one, including a President, is ethically exempt from accounting to the citizenry for any action taken. Compassionate pardons may be justifiable, but there must be an accountable process, e.g. review and consent by an impartial board composed of social service and criminal justice professionals.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  252. Keith S

    There is no place for special pardons in a true justice system.

    Interpreting the law is the job of those trained for it, those in the judicial branch.

    If there are injustices caused by the law, it is the responsibility of the legislative branch - not the executive branch - to correct the law, and correct it for everyone.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  253. Diane A.

    Dear Jack , Yes I agree with pardons . Mind you not the hardcore convicts . But I think a man like Conrad Black should be pardoned . He can do far more good deeds for the United States and Canada than he can by being locked up . Just watch and see what he would do if the President would give him a pardon .

    Diane , Cape Breton Island , Nova Scotia , Canada .

    December 1, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  254. Philip R. Scott-Smith

    Presidential pardons MIGHT be a good thing if they were validated by Congress. However, as they are now, they smack too much of monarchic power. The same is true of presidential "Midnight Laws." -Either let Congress validate the laws, or get rid of them.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  255. Craig R. in St. Petersburg, Florida

    Jack, presidential pardons are a good idea when prudently used. However, a disastrous idea when utilized to pardon cronies, political yes men, or to protect people against potential investigations. Presidential pardons are to be used for "forgiveness" and second opportunities to become a better person. Pardon power in the hands of President Bush scares the heck out of me! Who might avoid getting what they deserve judiciously?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  256. Gary

    There can be situations in which a presidential pardon is appropriate. However, we need a constitutional amendment that prohibits a president from pardoning anyone for crimes committed when directly or indirectly carrying out the orders of that president. However, the next president should not be prevented from pardoning his predecessor's people.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  257. Sasha Trice

    Presidential pardons are like taking the blind fold off of Lady Justice.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  258. Erin in Healdsburg CA

    No pardons – there is a reason those people have been convicted in the first place. I might however make an exception for a Thanksgiving turkey once in a while. Those other turkeys should stay put and the biggest turkey of all (GB) should have no say in their futures.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  259. Dave

    Don't worry – Saint Obama will have the same power to pardon people, and all of the folks complaining about Bush will saying what a wonderful thing it is.....

    December 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  260. Twanda T

    I don't know mr. cafferty...you tell me.......it seems to me that our president cares more about excusing the behavior of criminals than he does helping those of us who have lost everything due in part by this mess of an economy we have.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  261. Dennis North Carolina

    NO one should be able to give a FREE pass to any person who has broke the law or convicted of a crime by their peers.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  262. Nancy, Madison, WI

    I don't understand the reason for this practice, but it is on a long list of things that don't make sense to me.
    I am especially opposed to pardoning people found guilty by a jury of a felony, and rightfully sentenced. To me, that makes a mockery of the justice system.
    I am especially thinking of the proposed plan to pardon former Gov. George Ryan of Illinois whose greed and illegal dealings led to the deaths of a total of nine people.
    It's just wrong, and should be stopped.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  263. Chuck, Arkansas

    Pardons are only a good idea if a regulated process is observed.
    After all, there are many unjust decisions out there, including Ramos and Campeon.
    As for Scooter Libby, he was just the fall guy anyway.
    The real culprits are Chaney and Rove.
    This will come out in the special investigations by Congress.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  264. Sarge

    Clemency is always good andf should be used judiciously for those
    whose minor crimes deserve it. This act done by a President is one of grace and the President should use this regularly. However, we are hearing rumors of some sort of a "blanket" pardon for those involved in illegal acts including torture to be included in such a action. I have
    to ask; Where does clemency cease and obstruction of justice begin?


    December 1, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  265. Keith S

    Presidents should only be able to pardon those who were falsely convicted.

    A president should never need to do that because there are so many other means of appeal.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  266. David Alexander

    Presidential pardons should only be allowed at the beginning of the Presidents term, not at the end, so he can shoulder some responsibility for the pardon, if only in public opinion.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  267. Vivian Rowe

    NO, is't a slap in the face to all those who work so hard putting people behind bars where they belong. Granted there are some who have been framed for something they didn't do, maybe they need a new attorney.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  268. Larry Of Palm Bay

    It could be. But the only pardons this President should grant are the 2 Border Patrol Agents.
    One I know he will do is Roger Clemens. But that still will not get the bum in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  269. Jay Selig

    The last time that I had checked, Border patrol agents Ramos and Campeon aren't drug addicts and those that lie bold facely to the senate over the firings of 8 attorney generals simply because they weren't doing the President's bidding.They were protecting our United States borders from an illegal immigrant drug runner whom they shot in self defense.

    Shame on President Bush, I wonder if he sleeps well at night

    December 1, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  270. Angus

    Presidential pardons are only a good idea if they are coming from a Democrat President, but not if they come from a Republican President...am I right Democrats or what?!

    December 1, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  271. Almo W. Taylor Jr. Slidell,Louisiana

    I hope President Bush would give pardon to Former Gov. Edwin Edwards of Louisiana, he serve his time. He has always love this country & his state, we should not let died in prison. And yes I do think the president should have right to pardon certain people.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  272. robert

    yes, i think pardons are a good idea for the truly ridiculous
    sentences that some of our judges hand out, but maybe
    there should be someone to over see the presidents pardons,
    like maybe bill clinton, after all, anyone who can fool this country
    on the definition of " is " is truly remarkable !!
    robert from florida

    December 1, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  273. Pedro in Haines City, FL

    Yes and no

    No because if there's anyone in jail is because they did something against the law that we all abide and should pay their entire time. But yes because there are legitimate people that has been sent there wrongly, unjustly or simply because they were doing their job (case in hand the border patrol agents arrested for killing drug dealers).

    Before any changes are made to the Presidential Pardon, first we have to change how we prosecute, make sure that any and all evidence points to the guild or innocence and investigate and jail any corrupt law officer from patrol officers to judges so they can't change the end result. Also jails need to change to institutions of correction and education, at this moment they are institutions of death and sources to become worse criminals when they get out.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  274. Mitch

    Just like a lottery or contest or giveaway, you can't work for the company can't be related, can't own any stock in that company. Have no ties to the person that gets pardoned in anyway. Then, and only then, may you consider the pardon.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  275. Ole Grizz

    Most answering your blog seem to think they are a good thing "if". When "ifs" are needed, maybe it's not such a good thing. As we have seen, when any person or entity is left to police themselves it just dosen't happen. My answer, a resounding NO!! Wasilla (yes, THAT Wasilla AK)

    December 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  276. j/NJ

    Are presidential pardons a good idea?

    Absolutely, why not?...clearly it goes with the job; however, despite the chronic misuse of power by many American politicians, federal law enforcement officials and agencies are no better in dispensing justice, fact is that many sentences handed down by the federal courts are excessive if not demonstrably erroneous...

    December 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  277. Neatha from Kansas City

    Unchecked power is always a bad idea, a President should not have the ability to pardon anyone for any reason including future convictions. The average person has to make their way through the justice system, those asking for pardons should have to do the same.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  278. C. J. Sculley from Bethlehem, Pa

    Jack, If our politicians were as honorable as they should be they probably could serve a legitimate purpose, but that's not the real world is it? I predict Bush's last two pardons will be one for Cheney , and one for his ole' buddy Rummy . I'd add Karl Rove but he was only the "brains" behind the scene. He kept his actual hands out of the dirty work pretty well. I don't know how we can tie him to actual deeds

    December 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  279. educated Ron

    Pardons not good if politically motivated.

    Pardoning of Nixon, the future pardoning of Rove and Cheney shouldn't be allowed. Pardoning should be allowed only in court matters where justice isn't correctly served and be agreed upon by the public by use of the democratic process.

    If Nixon's tapes would have been subpoena'd and heard, then america would know the truth in regards to the assasination attempt on Wallace, the Cia involvment with the JFK assasination and Bobby Kennedy.

    The way the media is set up now is that if one even discusses those things they put on you "conspiracy nut" label, when all you're asking for is an honest government. We all know what "the bay of pigs thing" meant now that nixon used to get the CIA to jump through hoops for him.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  280. Gene

    There's a reason why we have 3 branches of government.. the Executive, the legislative, and judicial. It's the judicial side that should be in charge of pardons, not the executive. Let justice be determined by the judicial system, not one man.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  281. Jim/NC

    Presidents shouldn't play God! The only case I would approve of is the border patrol agents. Their convictions set our criminal justice system back exponentially.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  282. SHERI

    Presidential pardons are a great idea. We respect the judgements of our Commander and Chief and agree that it is the best decision considering and having the faith that this is the man that God has set over our great country. We believe in our country as God has blessed it in the past and will consider to do so.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  283. Joe in Bugtussle, Texas

    I think it would be great to be able to pardon myself for crimes,how cool is that,rob a bank and get a "Get out of Jail Free Card".

    December 1, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  284. Arlene Holt

    Nobody, includng the president of the US should have absolute right to pardon anyone. Where are the checks and the balances in such an arrangement? To me, it sounds like the executive branch gone amok. Why run fair and speedy trials if the decison is trivialized by a pardon?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  285. Alberto Pereira

    No to pardons; they are strictly political. They serve only the president's party, friends , family and etcetera.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  286. brother bill

    No pardons for the innocent. After all, the innocent do not have remorse.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  287. Cori from Colorado

    Jack, how do you help someone who is innocent? Those who are guilty by evidence versus someone who had to plea guilty is a totally different case. Pardons are only a good idea if we help the innocent, not pass out "get out of jail free" cards for your buddies.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  288. Gary

    Whoever gave presidents this power must have also voted for George Bush's second term. Do we just forget the sentence that was given through our system of justice? What happened to "no one man is above the law"? Where do these crazy powers come from? Politics have come a long way and sometimes don't make any sense at all!

    December 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  289. Richard Green


    I think there are legitimate uses of the pardon by a President. The process of applying for the pardon, however, should be public information, should include notification of any victims of the crime, and should exclude crimes against the US, obstruction of federal investigations, and crimes of contempt for federal subpoenas. There should never be a blanket pardon for a whole class of people [Bush administration employees] for, as yet, unnamed crimes. No president should ever be able to pardon himself. That is beyond absurd and obscene in a democracy. Pardons should only be for those who have been convicted of a crime.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  290. Jason Adams

    NO! Presidential pardons are not a good idea. Laws are put in place to protect the common good. No one should have the power to be above the law, especially the president. Perfect example look at the last 8 years, ie wire taps, torturing prisoners etc.. Giving the president the power to pardon corrupt individuals makes it far to easy for the president himself to be corrupt.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
  291. Matt

    Perhaps they are, perhaps they aren't, but it sure looks like Bush has absolutely no idea in that picture above.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  292. marty

    Just because some presidents have misused the process is no reason to throw out the baby with the bath water. Many individuals have been pardoned, including some by the present president, that have deserved to be pardoned. We live in an imperfect world and abuse will happen regardless of who the president is. But the idea is a sound one. Governors can pardon, why not the president?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  293. Michael Fermanich, Marinette, Wisconsin

    Jack; It depends on what the people of the United States would think was a sincere pardon, not a power play to be used to cover up scandal and corruption and greed. He still represents the people.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  294. Matt from Portland, Oregon

    The Federal Government spends over 6 billion dollors in corrections each year, so here's my plan; have the president pardon all the criminals, and just give that money to the auto makers.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  295. Dale

    No.....it makes a mockery of and diminishes our legal system.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  296. Robert

    The President is head of the Executive Branch which is supposed to enforce the law. Pardoning would certainly fall under his rights.

    That being said- its usually a political tool.

    I think it wouldn't be too much to ask for Presidential pardonings to exclude anyone who has worked for the executive administration or has close ties to it.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  297. Clarence Toussaint

    To all those who're railing against pardons; what if you or your loved ones were incarcerated? Would you want someone to have the power to pardon them? Remember that Governors can only pardon for state crimes, who then should have the power to pardon for federal crimes. The imperfect judiciary, or the idiots in Congress who screwed up the economy and everything else?

    December 1, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  298. EW

    If police and prosecutors woudl focus on the TRUTH instead of convicting anyone and everyone then there would be no need for pardons. These pardons are just another part of our broken justice system as well as the millions of pages of senseless laws in this country.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  299. Larry

    I have the ultimate presidential pardon list, some are way past due some have already been given.
    George Bush
    Dick Cheney

    December 1, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  300. Bud

    No. They are bad.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  301. Raj

    Jack, the presidential pardon is a constitutional check on the legislative and judicial branches, and so it is important. But I don't think the fathers intended the privilege to be used for future convictions. If that were the case, theoretically, the President could issue one massive pardon to everyone who will ever be convicted of a crime in the future.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  302. Corey Ellis

    I think pardons are a good idea if you're a criminal! If you're not, It's not fair to the rest of us who've always obeyed the law.

    Corey Ellis

    Joplin, Mo

    December 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  303. Michael, Pensacola, FL

    Yes pardons are a good idea, but they should be treated like insider trading where the President giving the pardon has to prove he has nothing to gain or no substantial connections to the person getting let off the hook. We shouldn't be having another Ronald Reagan moment where everyone in this administration up to their necks in fraud and torture is given a free pass at the end like a bad disney movie about getting into heaven.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  304. epipes nashville

    Pardons are great but I just don't give GEORGE W BUSH a pardon. It is just criminal what he and his cronies have done.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  305. Bev, Los Angeles, California

    Only in cases of questionable convictions and victumless crimes.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  306. Chapman (Portland, OR)

    Clearly pardons have been used throughout our history & I'm sure many of them have involved special favors & providing a level of cover for shady government dealings. I don't think we've ever seen a pre-emptive pardon issued (though I may be wrong). I think that would be the ultimate slap in the face to American justice... The pardon itself is an act of compassion & should stand along with the acknowledgement that we are all human & as such we all make mistakes & may need forgiveness at some point. I think it should be used in that fashion.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  307. Graham Finlay

    The culprits in the Bush Administration , Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Rove should be investigated and tried for their alleged crimes . Until such action takes place "preemptive" pardons should not be granted. Nor should President Bush be allowed to pardon himself .

    December 1, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  308. Chris W

    Pardons are part of the executive branch as set forth by the constitution. For all those that say No – explain to me how a government can show compassion and protect those that receive excessive or questionable sentences. I bet if you were the one caught in the web we call a legal system (the good and the bad parts), you would want someone to hear your appeal. Our legal system is not perfect – what a surprise!! Also, have any of the individuals pardoned by any President been a problem to society or a repeat offender (I didn't think so). If handled properly they can be a lifesaver of hope for the individual and/or their family.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  309. Rob

    Presidential pardons are a necessary check on a runaway judiciary. The check on presidential pardons should be the people. If a president abuses this power even once he should be ostracized. He (and his family members) should never be (re)elected. No one should buy his books, visit his library, attend his speeches, or give any credence to his recommendations. There aught to be so much shame associated with this corruption, that he would never want to show his face in public again.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  310. Harley- Las Vegas, NV

    Absolutely not! Presidential pardons undermine our entire Judiciary system.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  311. Jeff Crocket

    You always bash Bush but in many ways he has done a great job!!

    Pardons are ok for just reasons!!

    December 1, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  312. ranger7

    ...bush has no credibility..he should be removed from office... and

    charged for the crimes he committed..

    good god what is wrong with our society!!

    December 1, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  313. Independent

    When our country was founded, military tribunals being used to try civilians was fresh on our Founding Fathers' minds. It is only natural that the system they set up purposely errs on the side of letting the guilty go free instead of erring on the side of imprisoning the innocent.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  314. John

    Yes, its a good idea...but the unfurtunate thing is, its only for the wealthy, the connect folks only, its not for a common man. And i strongly believe that Alaska Senetor is already in the list.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  315. WC

    All these indignant people insulting President Bush even before any pardons are announced have very short and selective memories. Where were they when Clinton vindictively let several of his turkey buddies and political debtees go the last day in office?

    December 1, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  316. paul in miami

    I fully expect him to pardon all the criminals who worked for him. That way the insult to America and the US Constitution will be complete. What a disgrace of a president. A total loser.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:49 pm |