Saturday, July 7, 2007

Presidential Pardon Authority

What part of Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution don’t you understand?
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.[Emphasis Mine]
This is a power granted only to the President, to use as he sees fit and does not require additional approval. It is absolute, so whether it is President Bush, Clinton, Carter or Ford, it’s non-reviewable, and non-reversible. [Parenthetical Note: For some reason Section 2 above gives Liberal Democrats fits. When they wanted to add time lines for Iraq Troop withdrawal, these same Dems couldn’t comprehend the 1st sentence either.]

So when the Democrats complain about the Libby commutation as against the rule of law, they are just blowing smoke. And worse when they call for Congressional Committees as has John Conyers, (D MI) to investigate the President’s decision to commute Libby’s jail time, they are wasting our tax dollars. Why are we paying these people to do even less than nothing? Congressional job approval ratings are already below President Bush’s, and this purely political smoke screen will not help.

John Conyers Press Release Chairman Conyers on President Bush’s Decision to Commute Please note the bolded text that President Bush’s decision is “inconsistent with the rule of law”. Obviously Mr. Conyers needs to actually read the Constitution, or at least explain what his definition of “rule of law” is, so we are all on the same page.
“Until now, it appeared that the President merely turned a blind eye to a high ranking Administration official leaking classified information. The President’s action today makes it clear that he condones such activity. This decision is inconsistent with the rule of law and sends a horrible signal to the American people and our intelligence operatives who place their lives at risk everyday. Now that the White House can no longer argue that there is a pending criminal investigation, I expect them to be fully forthcoming with the American people about the circumstances that led to this leak and the President’s decision today.”[Emphasis Mine]
Mr. Conyers also wants to know what lead to “this leak”. By using the term “this leak” in the above context, I believe he is referring to the leak of CIA employee Valerie (Plame) Wilson’s name as the wife of Joe Wilson. If this is what he means, I don’t know where the Congressman has been, because anyone who has followed “this leak” story, knows that United States Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, was the source. Further that Mr. Armitage did not reveal Ms. Wilson’s name in violation of the law, nor at the request of anyone in the White House. They also would know that, despite what anyone says, Ms. Wilson was not a covert agent under the law. Joe Wilson was found guilty by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee of making and publishing false claims and conclusions not supported, by Intelligence evidence he gathered as a result of his trip to Niger. Finally, they should know Valerie Plame Wilson lied when she denied she suggested him for the trip.

Whatever you think about the President’s commutation of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s jail sentence, it is clearly legal. So lets move on. Congress needs to do something they were paid to do - The Legislative Business of our Government.

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