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Monday, November 9, 2009

President Obama and the Pardon Power

In chapter 14, we discuss presidential powers, including the ability to issue pardons. The Chicago Tribune reports that President Obama has been sparing in his use of this power:
A lot of things have moved pretty quickly in the Obama administration. Presidential pardons are not among them.

In two and a quarter centuries, only four presidents have been slower than President Barack Obama in exercising their authority of executive clemency -- granting either pardons or commutations of sentences to the convicted -- with thousands of applications pending at the Justice Department.

By the count of pardon expert P.S. Ruckman Jr., associate professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Obama early this month passed Richard Nixon, moving into fifth place, and could overtake John Adams for fourth about 250 days from now.

George Washington was by far the stingiest with the power -- it took him more than 1,800 days to grant his first pardon.
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