pardon power

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pardon power

War Crimes, Pardons and the Attorney General

On May 18, the New York Times reported that President Trump has set in motion a process for obtaining advice from the Department of Justice about how to proceed in issuing pardons to several military service members charged with or convicted of war crimes. Specifically, the White House reportedly contacted the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which in turn contacted the relevant military branches for information about the cases—presumably to prepare a recommendation for or against pardons.

Executive Power

Self-Pardons: The President Can't Pardon Himself, So Why Do People Think He Can?

There appears to be some confusion surrounding the question of whether a president can pardon himself. There are many judgments to be drawn from the familiar forms of legal argument—history, text, structure, prudence, doctrine and ethos—all of which cohere around the conclusion that such a pardon is not constitutionally permissible, a conclusion also reached by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). These arguments are discussed in more detail in “Impeachment: A Handbook,” by Charles L. Black, Jr. and Philip Bobbitt, forthcoming from Yale Press in September.

Executive Power

Trump’s Corrupt Use of the Pardon Power

“When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons.” Thus did Trump spokesman Rudy Giuliani suggest—in response to the recent jailing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for witness tampering while out on bail and reports that Michael Cohen might be willing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation—that the president could wave his pardon wand to make all his legal troubles disappear.

pardon power

Judge Bolton Should Let Someone Make the Argument Against Vacating Joe Arpaio's Conviction

On October 4, Judge Susan Bolton will hold a hearing to consider former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request that she vacate his conviction for criminal contempt now that President Trump has issued what many have described as a regrettable but valid pardon. This choice is to Judge Bolton’s credit: Instead of simply vacating his conviction, she’s wise to grapple with this unusual and perhaps unprecedented pardon.

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