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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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only if you are the convicted crook that needs one.
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!!
They could be, if we actually had a president who deserved the title.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only if it is for two unjustly convicted Border Guards.
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.
Never, unless there was gross miscarriage of justice in a case.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"?
Its probably another type of bailout for the rich and famous.
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.
Port Aransas, TX
Many Prsidential pardons have been disgusting. Congress should have avote to accept or reject.
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.
Yes if it is used correctly and not for the intended purpose of favoritism.
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.
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.
No, presidential pardons aren't a good idea and is an infringement on the judicial system and doesn't give every felon equal opportunity.
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.
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?
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."
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..
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not a good idea, too much politics involved.
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.
Only if you are the beneficiary of one.
NO! And that includes the turkeys!
Pardon me, but no.
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.
Jack, very bad idea because who is going to pardon President bush when he charge for war crimes. New york
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!
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.
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?
only if the pardons are non partisan.
Wonder if w bush realizes that the bush/cheney administration is the worst in US history, and the crimes may necessitate pardons?
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.
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.
Only for Turkeys Jack.. you know, the ones that say gobble gobble. The other turkeys can sit in there and serve out their terms...
Only for a President that deserves that title!
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.
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!
. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
Pardons are a great way to raise money for your Presidential Library!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
Absolutely no! I thought we elected him President, not a Judge and Jury!
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.
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.
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?
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.
Not for cronies that have been sentenced for crimes that have done terrible harm to the American people.
If the pardons wouldn't be for people whose first name is Scooter, then maybe it would be a good idea.
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.
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.
yes, but should be amended not to include government staff or employees.
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.
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.
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.
the two boarder guards that shot the drug smuggler, would think so...and so would the millions of people that support them...
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
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.
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!
NO pardon's ! you have done the crime now you do the time
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.
It only depends who he pordens. First at all he should pardon the 2 border partroles !!!!!!!
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.
No, It's my hope that this president will be needing a pardon himself!!!
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.
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!
No – only for a wrongful conviction – not for individuals or corporations who have hurt the American people.
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.
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.
I agree with Gene in Mo..... He should pardon those Border Guards who NEVER should have been locked up...
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.
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.
Does that include the president pardening himself?
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.
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.
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.
Nope, but post-administration criminal proceedings against the President are !
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.
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?
Only if your name isn't Clinton.
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.
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.
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.
WHY should crooks and thieves be pardoned????? They shouldn't – and presidents should not be allowed to pardon them.
Only when I'm the one in jail.
Hi Jack, no I do not believe they are a good idea. Those people were convicted by a jury of their peers.
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.
Of course they're a good idea. Doesn't every president want to go out with a bang?
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.
No. Presidents shouldn't be allowed to pardon ANYONE. Especially when the president himself should be in jail.
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!
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?
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
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.
Yeah they are a good idea. And no other than some rough flexible guidelines should not have any formal rules for using the privilidge.
They are only as good of an idea as the people that are being pardoned. So in most cases they are a bad idea.
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.
No! Pardons are a terrible idea no matter who is the president.
Pardons should be outlawed.....PERIOD!
Yes, if you are in prison and W. knows your name and likes you.
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.
Why not? How much more damage can that guy actually do?
I dont care what he does as long as he leaves on time!!!
Pardons are a great idea, just not in the hands of ol' dubya.
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.
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.
Ask Scooter Libby.
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.
No. Justice should be impartial, not political.
Not for this President. Someone who cannot even pronounce nuclear is not intelligent enough to pardon someone. Hey he would have to ask Chaney!
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.
Jack, Presidential Pardons are good in the Bush Administration as long as President Bush does not forget to pardon himself.
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!!!
Presidential pardons seem to overide the separation of federal powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the govenment and should be discontinued.
I think by now the precedence has been set.
At the same time this does bring into question the priciple of seperation of powers.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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?
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
It should be abolished ...
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'....
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.
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!!?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They are if the people I like are pardoned and they're not if the people I don't like are.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's a check on the judiciary.
Well, this is just one more thing he can RUB in the faces of the average working American men and women.
Yes. If you are an unethical, immoral law breaker; who happens to give lots of $$$$$ to the traitorous politicians.
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?
One thing is for sure, watching a lame duck pardon a couple of turkeys provided a fair share of entertainment value
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.
No pardons for the guilty
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.
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.
Not with outlaws in the White House, Jack.
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.
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.
Yes, presidential pardons are a good resolution for the gray areas that occur in an imperfect legal system.
No, I don't think we should give President Bush a pardon.
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),
Presidential Pardons stink and are an insult to our legal system, not to mention a direct slap in the face to law abiding Americans.
bush should pardoned himself, he's going to need it....
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.
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.
In President Bush's case, YES! He needs all the friends he can get as his presidency unwinds.
-Ahlam, San Diego
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.
Forget whether its a good idea.How come nobody's making any 'Pardon Me' Bush jokes?
Presidential Pardons over ride the Court's System !
Its the Executive, Judicial, and Congressional with equal powers!
No Mas, No Menos !
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.
I'll keep it short and sweet...no.
jack its ok .as long as he and cheney dont get one.
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.
Presidential Pardons sure.
But congress should have veto power.
Consecon Ontario Canada
Yes, but only if your last name is not Bush.
Pardons are only a good idea if the country wants the judiciary and the executive to be one person.
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.
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.
Yes, but it takes someone with wisdom and good judgement. I don't think Bush has either.
Presidents should have this privilege, however it should be limited by having Congress or at least the Cabinet approve these pardons.
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!
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.
Of course Presidential pardons are necessary. Where would we find future politicians if it weren't for the pardons?
Can W. pardon himself?
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.
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.
Laguna Niguel, Ca
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.
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
Presidential pardons are a slap in the face of our law enforcement men & women. This practice should be abolished ASAP.
Retired in East Tn.
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.
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.
NOOOOOO Jack, Presidential pardons are "get out of jail free" cards. Is that justice under our constitution?
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.
Absolutely! I will not question the wisdom of the founding fathers. They put that in the constitution for a good reason.
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.
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./
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
Can he pardon himself? If so ,then it is a terrible idea !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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?
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.
Presidential pardons are like taking the blind fold off of Lady Justice.
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?!
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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...
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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?
No to pardons; they are strictly political. They serve only the president's party, friends , family and etcetera.
No pardons for the innocent. After all, the innocent do not have remorse.
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.
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!
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.
San Clemente, Cal.
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.
Perhaps they are, perhaps they aren't, but it sure looks like Bush has absolutely no idea in that picture above.
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?
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.
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.
No.....it makes a mockery of and diminishes our legal system.
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.
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?
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.
I have the ultimate presidential pardon list, some are way past due some have already been given.
No. They are bad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only in cases of questionable convictions and victumless crimes.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
Absolutely not! Presidential pardons undermine our entire Judiciary system.
You always bash Bush but in many ways he has done a great job!!
Pardons are ok for just reasons!!
...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!!
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.
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.
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?
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.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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