Is it time to get rid of the presidential pardon? | The Tylt
Is it time to get rid of the presidential pardon?
Obama has come under fire for using his power to pardon more than any other president in modern history. But the New York Times called Obama's pardons and commutations a show of mercy to prisoners with unjustifiably harsh sentences:
Of the 231 people who received a pardon or a reduced sentence from Mr. Obama, virtually all had been serving sentences under tough antidrug laws, including those convicted of low-level, nonviolent crimes like possession of cocaine....The president has said he has been motivated to exercise his clemency power by a belief that the sentencing system in the United States was used to lock up minor criminals — often minorities — for excessively long periods of time.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) called the Obama administration’s decision to allow nonviolent drug convicts to apply for presidential clemency "an alarming abuse of the pardon power."
There have been cries of abuse about presidential pardon power from both sides of the aisle. Part of the resolution of the Watergate scandal was that Nixon and his top aides were pardoned by Ford. When George W. Bush granted his vice president's aide Scooter Libby clemency from serving a prison sentence, people were enraged. Bill Clinton still gets heat for his pardon of infamous financier Marc Rich. When George HW Bush pardoned all of the players in the Iran-contra cover-up, he was bitterly condemned by people who accused him of seeking to hide his own involvement in the scandal. If presidents are granting self-interested pardons and playing politics with a power that is meant to show mercy, perhaps they should be stripped of it.
Others argue presidential pardons can be used to show mercy for those with unfair sentences. The harsh drug sentencing trends of the 90s left hundreds of thousands of people imprisoned for decades for nonviolent crimes.
@divafeminist we need to push for full presidential pardons for all non violent drug offenders