Monday, December 1, 2008

CAN BUSH PARDON HIS CO-CONSPIRATORS?

David Swanson, After Downing Street - Never before has a president pardoned himself or his subordinates for crimes he authorized. The closest thing to this in U.S. history thus far has been Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence. Bush is widely expected to follow that commutation with a pardon. . .

There are widespread concerns that Bush might pardon other subordinates for various other crimes that he authorized, potentially including torture, warrantless spying, a variety of war crimes, taking the nation to war on fraudulent evidence, and the abuses of the politicized Justice Department. . .

The idea that the pardon power constitutionally includes such pardons ignores a thousand year tradition in which no man can sit in judgment of himself, and the fact that James Madison and George Mason argued that the reason we needed the impeachment power was that a president might some day try to pardon someone for a crime that he himself was involved in. . . The problem is the complete elimination of any semblance of the rule of law if Bush pardons his subordinates for crimes he instructed or authorized them to commit.

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