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186

tl;dr: Arpaio was sentenced for violating a court order, which ordered him to stop violating the law. In this case, a presidential pardon takes away any recourse the judiciary has, thus circumventing the separation of powers and thus the rule of law. Few people claim that the pardon was illegal. What people mean by "rule of law" in this case is ...


74

It is possible to reject a pardon. Referring to United States v. Wilson: There is nothing peculiar in a pardon which ought to distinguish it in this respect from other facts; no legal principle known to the court will sustain such a distinction. A pardon is a deed to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without ...


67

The question is theoretical. But there's no need to theorize. There's at least one case of a convict successfully rejecting a presidential pardon. The Supreme Court ruled on this case in 1833, saying a pardon is "not completed without acceptance". The case is touched upon in a previous answer to this post. Here are excerpts from an article describing the ...


49

First, while nobody doubts that the act is lawful, the right to pardon is controversial by itself. It is a power by which the executive "breaks" the separation of powers and changes a decision coming from the judicial power. Doubly so if the reason for the pardon seems to be the self-interest of the person who issues the pardon, more than in the general ...


47

Given that "an impeachable offense is whatever half of the House of Representatives considers it to be", impeachment could be a possible remedy if a President's actions were flagrantly immoral and/or sufficiently unpopular. The Constitution says that a president can be impeached and removed if they commit "high crimes or misdemeanors", ...


41

Yes, the constitution allows pardoning people who haven't been charged. Reduction of a sentence is not technically considered pardoning. A President can pardon someone who hasn't be charged. Pardons make an individual immune to any conviction in future. Article 2, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the President the right to pardon: [The ...


37

In Ex parte Garland, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 333 (1866), the Supreme Court ruled on the limitations of the presidential pardon: 153 The Constitution provides that the President 'shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.' 154 The power thus conferred is unlimited, with the exception ...


36

The law in Iceland dates from the 1940s, and is modelled on Danish laws of the period. Pre-1940, an adult convicted of a serious crime (one which is "outrageous to public opinion" and leads to a prison sentence of 4 months or more) would lose their "honour". This had various consequences, including losing the right to vote in Althing elections. The 1940 law ...


35

As best I can tell, these pardons are meant as rewards for being loyal to Trump, not as protections. They don't actually protect Trump in any way: the contrary, in fact, since pardoning someone implies they can no longer invoke fifth amendment rights, meaning they can be compelled to testify against Trump in the future. But Trump has — as others have pointed ...


32

For instance, if I really hate littering, and I somehow become President of the United States, could I effectively make littering a capital offense by promising to immediately pardon anyone who kills a litterer? First this could be considered incitement as noted in this answer. Should something as explicit as this happen I would expect that swift ...


32

There is a proverb that hard cases make bad laws. The pardon power is a check and balance on laws and their application. The legislative has to write laws with general scope. The judiciary interprets those laws in specific cases, and their role in questioning laws is rather limited. They can only set the law aside if they can find overriding principles in ...


29

It remains unclear if the President can pardon himself. However, the Constitution gives broad leeway to who a President can pardon. Article 2, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the President the right to pardon: [The President] shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of ...


29

Question: Why do presidential pardons exist in a country having a clear separation of powers? In a word: history... The case of the US is tied to that of the UK. In the UK you have the Royal Prerogative of mercy which has been used since at least 1617. This is likely copied from across the Channel in France, where the Droit de grâce (Fr) was used by ...


26

Theoretically, the congress could try to impeach. BUT, in reality, presidents often wait until his final days/hours to grant the most controversial pardons. And once a pardon is granted, there is no recall of the pardon. Therefore, there is really no checks to pardon power, making it the most KING like power the presidency holds.


25

Pardons have three major benefits: By explicitly giving one person the power to overrule punishments, they make the law less impersonal. If public opinion concludes that an injustice has been done, a particular politician can be convinced to grant a pardon. It makes it easier to end civil wars. A common provision of civil war settlements is an amnesty for ...


23

Yes, at least depending on what you count as "explaining". He also went on a 20-post twitter tirade about it. His main points seem to be that, first and foremost, the criticism is manufactured by political opportunists, people who don't know what they're talking about and just want a soundbite, and liars (aka, it's fake news); and that he had spent ...


22

The President has pardon power in part to prevent abuses by the other branches of government Let's start with this statement of yours: In a political system having separation of powers and where persons can appeal if they think the verdict is not correct, it does not make much sense to have the president pardon someone. Assume for the moment that you ...


22

The most popular month for both Pardons and Clemency is December, during the holidays. Clemency (commuting the sentence without restoring rights) is far more popular among modern presidents than Pardons. For example, Nixon granted clemency to 653 people during the Decembers he had available compared to the 274 he made in all of the other calendar months ...


18

...He shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. The president can grant a pardon for offences against the United States. In other words, he can grant pardons in all federal criminal cases. The nationality of the offender is immaterial.


18

Corporations can be, and often are, found guilty of criminal violations, which are normally punished by fines, although in some cases loss of some license, or a ban from being eligible for government contracts (partial or total) could also be imposed. The pardon power of the US President extends to all offenses charged (or that could be charged, as a pardon ...


18

I haven't read the article, but I'm guessing people in prison are more likely to strike a deal and help with an investigation, in return for some favors like early release etc. I don't recall the exact context in which this was said (I think it had something to do with spies cooperating) but it went along the lines of "you'd be surprised what people ...


17

No, the Judicial Branch has no power over Presidential Pardons, which are vested solely within that office. The President is granted this power in Article 2. Section 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he ...


15

As far as I am aware, pardoning means to reduce a sentence. That's commutation. While that's part of the pardon power in the United States, that's not actually a pardon. As per Wikipedia: A pardon is a government decision to allow a person who has been convicted of a crime to be free and absolved of that conviction, as if never convicted. ...


13

The Department of Justice is an office of the Executive. If the Chief Executive desires that they refrain from prosecuting a case, he may simply issue that order behind closed doors. There are very few constitutional limits on a presidential pardon, so a secret pardon would not be impossible from a legal perspective, but I suspect that proper pardons are a ...


13

The House of Representatives can only impeach the President for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." If the House wanted to (and they almost certainly would), they would probably impeach you as either an accessory to the crimes being committed, or even just for inciting the crimes (which is a crime). After all, whether or not a ...


13

Will the people Trump pardoned, such as Joe Arpaio and Scooter Libby remain vindicated in the event of Trump's impeachment? Any pardon that an impeached President makes prior to being convicted on an impeachment remains valid. No President has ever been convicted following an impeachment, so there is no case presenting exactly this fact pattern. But, ...


13

No matter how you structure the government, on any point there is always somebody who has the final say. The only alternative is that nothing falling under that topic is ever finally settled, until the people who care are dead. In the case of the president's pardon authority: If there were no pardon authority, then the Supreme Court would have the final ...


12

When we look to the framer's of the constitution, the main debate was whether the pardon prerogative should extend to "treason" (it does) or "impeachment" (it doesn't). Hamilton writes about the pardon in paper 74: Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible ...


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