• Ali Assareh

A few notes on U.S. President's Pardon Power

A few notes on U.S. President's Pardon Power:

1. Article II, Section II, Clause I of the U.S. Constitution is the source of this power:

"[The President] shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

2. This clause is clear that the President can pardon only crimes "against the United States" - meaning violations of Federal Law.

3. If someone violates State law - e.g., a State's tax, campaign, or criminal laws - they must seek pardon from that State's Governor, not the President.

4. This clause leaves two questions unanswered:

A. Can the President pardon herself or himself?

B. What's the exact meaning of the Impeachment exception?

The Supreme Court has not had to answer these questions yet.

5. Pardoning seditionists is with precedent. In fact, President George Washington issued the very first pardon in the case of participants in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791-4.

After Civil War of 1860-3, President Andrew Johnson pardoned all Confederate soldiers & officers.

6. US Presidents are using their pardon powers less frequently than they did before. In 19 & early 20 centuries, Presidents pardoned in thousands. Now they pardon in hundreds.

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