If a President wanted to pardon "persons unknown who were involved in [a particular activity or event]", would they have the power to do so? Or can a President only pardon named individuals?

  • 2
    There's a way to work around that. He can pardon everyone in an entire known large group (e.g. "all citizens", or "all people") for crimes only some of the group may or may not have committed.
    – Peter
    Jan 8, 2021 at 10:01

1 Answer 1


Yes, the President could. For example, President Carter granted a mass pardon to those that avoided the Vietnam draft on his first day in office.

Of course, this would have the same limitations that exist generally for Presidential pardons that the President can only pardon a person for federal crimes. If the "activity or event" involved violations of state law, the state(s) would be free to prosecute despite the pardon.

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