The Death Of The Pardon

Jan 10 2013 @ 8:27am

Scott Horton highlights a sobering statistic:

On November 20, 2012, President Obama acceded to the demands of schoolchildren across the nation by issuing commutations to Cobbler and Gobbler. The two turkeys were then transported to George Washington’s estate at Mont Vernon to live out the balance of their lives in federal custody. But a dark fact shadows this holiday ritual: as it turns out, Cobbler and Gobbler received the only presidential pardons issued in 2012.  As presidential authority reaches an historic high-water mark, one of the president’s powers is on the verge of atrophying:  that of granting pardons in the interests of justice.

Jacob Sullum compares Obama to past presidents:

Which of Obama’s predecessors managed to make less use of the clemency power during their first terms? According to numbers compiled by P.S. Ruckman Jr., a professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Rockville, Illinois, just three: George Washington, who probably did not have many clemency petitions to address during the first few years of the nation’s existence; William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia a month after taking office; and James Garfield, who was shot four months into his presidency and died that September.