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In the Constitution with Annotations the following is written in Footnote 6 (link)

"A pardon may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment."

I was in surprise when reading those lines. Isn't it plausible to argue a pardon can only be only decided on, when the full extent of a crime is known i.e. has been looked at by the judiciary? On the other hand a pardon before legal proceeding probably makes sense, when it is for the greater good of the nation. For example thinking back, to prevent the outbreak of a civil war. (interesting answers I found in that context: https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/44047/35704, https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/35915/35704, https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/44085/35704, https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/44114/35704)

The only case I found so far where a pardon was given before legal proceedings was to the former president Nixon.

Questions:

  • Are there other known cases? What details are known regarding the reasoning?
  • Regarding the former president Nixon, are there credible attempts looking at possible consequences if the pardon would not have been given?
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    You need to narrow this down to only one question. – SurpriseDog Jan 9 at 23:23
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Isn't it plausible to argue a pardon can only be only decided on, when the full extent of a crime is known i.e. has been looked at by the judiciary?

One could argue that, but that is not the understanding of nor the precedent for use of the pardon power.

In the answer at "Can the POTUS perform a mass-pardon for those who meet certain criteria?", examples are given of cases were some individuals were never identified, the "full extent" of their crimes were not known, and, yet, they were pardoned.

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