Monday, November 24, 2008

The coming pardons...

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball have a brief piece in Newsweek about the coming pardons of the Bush administration. They note that Bush has been particularly stingy in the issuance of pardons and note a couple of high profile pardons that may be forthcoming - ie. Michael Milliken, the OG Junk Bond King.

They then move to a discussion of Bush pardons for members of his administration and they make the following observation,

Trickier still is how Bush will handle requests from former members of his administration.

How will pardons of Scooter Libby et al be at all tricky? It's pretty straightforward actually. To believe that political pardons would prove tricky requires one to assume that Bush has some concern for public perceptions, proper use of the power of his office and/or an inkling of guilt of self-doubt about his administrations myriad scandals.

The power to pardon is an explicit power of The Office of the President. It is beyond all checks from both the legislature and the judiciary. Bush can pardon anyone he wants and it doesn't require anything more than a straightforward reading of the Constitution to reach that conclusion. Think about all of the various policies of the Bush administration that required strained and tortured readings of the law at best or flat-out ignoring the law at worst. Many of policies were all instituted in shockingly brazen fashion. If Bush can subvert the Geneva Conventions without a twinge of guilt or remorse why should we believe that something as clear cut as a pardon will prove tricky?

He'll do as he pleases without regard for the politics (it's not as if he has a political legacy to speak of) and without regard for concerns of justice, fairness or public opinion. He's operated without regard for any of those concerns for the last 8 years, why start now?

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