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Thread: Presidential Pardons

  1. #1

    Default Presidential Pardons

    Why.

    What is the purpose of it? What possible good did those who instigated the ... tradition? policy? constitutional amendment? ... hope it would bring?

    Allowing criminals, who have convictions for a whole spectrum of very serious charges, suddenly to be back in circulation at the whims of a potentially spiteful outgoing president cannot ever be a good thing.

    So waddafuq America.
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    It's actually the original French billion, which is bi-million, which is a million to the power of 2. We adopted the word, and then they changed it, presumably as revenge for Crecy and Agincourt, and then the treasonous Americans adopted the new French usage and spread it all over the world. And now we have to use it.

    And that's Why I'm Voting Leave.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Its an ancien royal prerogative, to get clemency from the king, before there were great detailed appeal systems etc

    So when America went independent they gave the king's powers to the President.

    The prerogative still exists in this country but has fallen out of use because it isn't really needed and PMs don't abuse it. The most recent and extremely rare example of it being used was to give clemency to the convicted murderer who helped stop the London Bridge attack. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...-tusk-pardoned
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  4. #4
    I did not know the history, so thanks for that.

    We could surmise, to the massive extent (73 criminals pardoned by Trump) to which it is exercised today, that it constitutes an abuse of the prerogative?

    The London Bridge attack clemency one can fully understand.

    The maliciously corrupt and fraudulent folk being pardoned in the present day in the US have not conducted any such equivalent acts of good deserving of clemency. And are pardoned from custody just because.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    It's actually the original French billion, which is bi-million, which is a million to the power of 2. We adopted the word, and then they changed it, presumably as revenge for Crecy and Agincourt, and then the treasonous Americans adopted the new French usage and spread it all over the world. And now we have to use it.

    And that's Why I'm Voting Leave.

  5. #5
    I read somewhere that the number of people Trump has pardoned is roughly in line with previous presidents.

    I can't find it again though and not certain of the source. Interesting if true though. Considering.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Timbuk2 View Post
    I did not know the history, so thanks for that.

    We could surmise, to the massive extent (73 criminals pardoned by Trump) to which it is exercised today, that it constitutes an abuse of the prerogative?

    The London Bridge attack clemency one can fully understand.

    The maliciously corrupt and fraudulent folk being pardoned in the present day in the US have not conducted any such equivalent acts of good deserving of clemency. And are pardoned from custody just because.
    Quote Originally Posted by gogobongopop View Post
    I read somewhere that the number of people Trump has pardoned is roughly in line with previous presidents.

    I can't find it again though and not certain of the source. Interesting if true though. Considering.
    https://www.justice.gov/pardon/clemency-statistics

    Way behind Obama, roughly in line with Clinton. When requesting a pardon or commutation, they try to make a compelling case for each applicant. Trump's pardons probably stand out for being the most questionable from the perspective of base corruption.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  7. #7
    When a criminal justice system is this fucked up, presidential pardons might be necessary:

    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Timbuk2 View Post
    Why.

    What is the purpose of it? What possible good did those who instigated the ... tradition? policy? constitutional amendment? ... hope it would bring?

    Allowing criminals, who have convictions for a whole spectrum of very serious charges, suddenly to be back in circulation at the whims of a potentially spiteful outgoing president cannot ever be a good thing.

    So waddafuq America.
    Hmm. So I think it's a little bit of a stretch to call it a holdover from royal prerogatives, nor was it included in the text of the Constitution willy-nilly (it's not an amendment, it's part of the original document describing the powers of the executive). There was clear discussion on the issue - Hamilton famously wrote one of the Federalist Papers defending the role of the executive in providing pardons, though others did predict it could be misused by the President.

    If I remember Hamilton's argument correctly, he suggested that investing pardon power in a single individual was a feature and not a bug - groups or committees might err on the side of harshness, but a single individual might better weigh pleas for clemency. Hamilton correctly predicted that no justice system was perfect, and that even if the law was enforced without favor you might still find niche situations where the justice system had failed to deliver justice. The remedy, he argued, was to invest in a single person the power to correct these miscarriages of justice or please for mercy.

    Throughout US history the pardon has often been used for purposes that might have been personal, political, or partisan, yes. But it has also been used to grant clemency for many who were indeed let down by our justice system. Back in the 90s and early 2000s there were a wave of governors who decided the failings of the death penalty were so great that they granted blanket commutations of death sentences (and instead reverted to life in prison). This led to the sharp reduction in the use of the death penalty across much of the US. Sometimes the pardon has been used to smooth over foreign relations over espionage charges. Etc.

    I think it's a worthwhile question about whether the pardon power should be constitutionally limited beyond the current impeachment limitation. Certainly I can see value in restricting the kind of political shenanigans we have seen with many recent presidents (certainly Clinton, Bush 43, and Trump abused it to one degree or another; I don't remember about Obama). But I think there is certainly a place for this kind of power to exist in our government.
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  9. #9
    The worst abuse could be prevented if somehow the ability to pardon was put in abeyance between election day and inauguration day.

    Let the President grant anything he wants to grant before people vote for his successor, not after it. Even if the President is a lame duck I think its still a good principle.

    Then again if the election winner was inaugurated immediately then that would get rid of this and many other abuses.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    The worst abuse could be prevented if somehow the ability to pardon was put in abeyance between election day and inauguration day.

    Let the President grant anything he wants to grant before people vote for his successor, not after it. Even if the President is a lame duck I think its still a good principle.

    Then again if the election winner was inaugurated immediately then that would get rid of this and many other abuses.
    That sounds reasonable, at least there's some kind of accountability that way.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  11. #11
    Nothing inherently more abusive about pardoning people shortly after an election than pardoning the same people shortly before an election. Eliminate the lame duck period, by all means—but the benefits and problems of the pardon power will largely remain. I think a better investment of the political capital would be to reform the criminal justice system.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  12. #12
    It shouldn't have to be either/or it should be both. But given the constitution, fixing the criminal justice system should probably be easier (even if nigh on impossible).

    Accountability is the difference between an election and after it. If someone pardons people because they want to and think its justifiable then fair enough. If someone pardons someone because they're on their way out, want to pardon their mates and the public have already voted so who cares - then that's a bigger issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    When a criminal justice system is this fucked up, presidential pardons might be necessary:

    Has a presidential pardon ever been used to actually pardon someone convicted of something like this and given such a disproportionate sentence?
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    The worst abuse could be prevented if somehow the ability to pardon was put in abeyance between election day and inauguration day.

    Let the President grant anything he wants to grant before people vote for his successor, not after it. Even if the President is a lame duck I think its still a good principle.

    Then again if the election winner was inaugurated immediately then that would get rid of this and many other abuses.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    That sounds reasonable, at least there's some kind of accountability that way.
    It's a combination of that and how an out-going President is pretty much done with further office-seeking. I think we can all mostly agree that an extra-judicial pardon power is necessary somewhere in the system, for policy reasons if nothing else and while things might be different in a legislative-supremacy model that pretty much means the executive in our kind of system. Personally, I would prefer to place more formal powers and responsibilities in the hands of the Vice-President and that would also serve to somewhat prevent these kinds of abuses since Vice's tend to see themselves as contenders for moving into the Oval Office, if not in the current election than the next.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Nothing inherently more abusive about pardoning people shortly after an election than pardoning the same people shortly before an election. Eliminate the lame duck period, by all means—but the benefits and problems of the pardon power will largely remain. I think a better investment of the political capital would be to reform the criminal justice system.
    I disagree. For the simple reason that there is no system that will always deliver outcomes that are both t legal and just. The abuse of the power of pardon is the lesser evil, and acceptable if it can right wrong outcomes of the system.
    Congratulations America

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    I disagree. For the simple reason that there is no system that will always deliver outcomes that are both t legal and just. The abuse of the power of pardon is the lesser evil, and acceptable if it can right wrong outcomes of the system.
    If it wasn't clear from my post, I wasn't suggesting they should replace the pardon power with a reformed criminal justice system; I was suggesting they try reforming the criminal justice system instead of trying to reform the president's powers.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  17. #17
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    Thanks for explaining.
    Congratulations America

  18. #18
    I don't see why we can't create a commission with people who are qualified to make this determination and then have the president (or AG) sign off (or not) on each recommendation.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I don't see why we can't create a commission with people who are qualified to make this determination and then have the president (or AG) sign off (or not) on each recommendation.
    I guess they thought the current process, bubbling up to and through the OPA, was good enough perhaps Trump's frequent departures from this norm will make it more of a requirement, who knows.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I don't see why we can't create a commission with people who are qualified to make this determination and then have the president (or AG) sign off (or not) on each recommendation.
    Thinking on this, I highly doubt people like manning would get clemency. One of the benefits of the presidential pardon is that the out going president rarely has to worry about political fallout, especially when they go against the military complex (for good or bad). I don't see a commission being that free.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Thinking on this, I highly doubt people like manning would get clemency. One of the benefits of the presidential pardon is that the out going president rarely has to worry about political fallout, especially when they go against the military complex (for good or bad). I don't see a commission being that free.
    Man it with retired judges, legal experts, maybe some rights groups, etc. Frequently, clemency is needed because social values changed since the conviction. No need to worry about politics in those cases.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I don't see why we can't create a commission with people who are qualified to make this determination and then have the president (or AG) sign off (or not) on each recommendation.
    What would be the qualifications to make such a determination? The primary legitimate purposes of the power are extrajudicial acts of mercy and to further public policy. The whole point of it is that it's not about the law, so turning to the legal experts and professionals is. . . Like OG I'm not thrilled with the idea of a permanent commission being the primary mover either.
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I don't see why we can't create a commission with people who are qualified to make this determination and then have the president (or AG) sign off (or not) on each recommendation.
    If you want a commission then surely that is what the judicial system is for?

    The very nature of this is to be extrajudicial.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    What would be the qualifications to make such a determination? The primary legitimate purposes of the power are extrajudicial acts of mercy and to further public policy. The whole point of it is that it's not about the law, so turning to the legal experts and professionals is. . . Like OG I'm not thrilled with the idea of a permanent commission being the primary mover either.
    Decisions made by retired judges and legal professionals aren't judicial...And since someone has to appoint these people to the commission, it would presumably be at least somewhat responsive to public opinion. The point is that the president has no expertise in making these kind of decisions. Which means the people being pardoned end up being the president's friends/donors or the cause celibre of the day.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  25. #25
    It almost sounds like Loki believes the only check for judicial decisions should be made by those with a judicial background. Generally speaking - that's now how we want government to work. It should be a set of checks and balances and someone who ais totally devoid from the prosecution and running of the court system is a reasonable check.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Decisions made by retired judges and legal professionals aren't judicial...And since someone has to appoint these people to the commission, it would presumably be at least somewhat responsive to public opinion. The point is that the president has no expertise in making these kind of decisions. Which means the people being pardoned end up being the president's friends/donors or the cause celibre of the day.
    I'm just saying Obama probably didn't have over a thousand felons among his friends and donors and, if there were some particular cause célèbre to which he was responding, that might be all right—to the extent that it might reflect important shifts in the view of justice. These decisions come, ideally, at the end of a thorough vetting process—overseen at the penultimate stage by the OPA, where you would expect to find some level of relevant expertise; you could make that step a requirement so that it can't be easily bypassed the way it has been by Trump.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    It almost sounds like Loki believes the only check for judicial decisions should be made by those with a judicial background. Generally speaking - that's now how we want government to work. It should be a set of checks and balances and someone who ais totally devoid from the prosecution and running of the court system is a reasonable check.
    You know half the senators are lawyers, right?
    Hope is the denial of reality

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    You know half the senators are lawyers, right?
    Yup - and its one of the reasons congress sucks.

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