PHOTO: President George W. Bush seen with Scooter Libby patting him on the back after commuting his sentence on obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to federal investigators.
The Scooter Libby commutation got me thinking about pardons and other forms of executive reprieve. I believe that the pardon does more harm then good to our country and that for the sake of fairness and equality under the justice system (what little is left) it should be abolished.
The pardon was created by well meaning people but the problem is that it is easily (and often) abused and used to settle political scores rather then used to free people who truly deserve it. There are many that could argue deserve pardons yet the majority of these pardons seem to be granted to political figures, donors or personal friends of the presidents/governors.
In addition I see presidential or gubernatorial pardons, commutations and reprieves as violating the separation of powers in taking over the role of the courts. What is the point of our court system if the executive of a state or the country is just going overturn it's rulings? It weakens the system of checks and balances. I believe that the power of the pardon should have never been written into the Constitution and should be amended to delete it.
There was a vigorous debate at the time as to whether or not the power of the pardon should be included in our countries greatest document. Those against the pardon power reminded the proponents of how abused the power had become in Europe and that we ought not adopt anything that even smacked of European governmental corruption and abuse of the people. America was to be a new experiment and keeping many of the trappings of the old European rule was seen by many as a continuation of too much power remaining in the hands of too few.
As we know there are two types of justice--one for the rich and powerful and one for the rest of us poor sods. The pardon power has devolved into an "escape hatch" for political cronies facing the justice of the people to avoid consequences and accountability. It's time for it to go.
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