Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Mr. Most Merciless

Obama, clemency, pardon, mercy, crime, Common Sense, illustration

Usually, when contemplating the Office of the President of the United States, our cause for complaint is excess of power. Our country was founded on opposition to such centralized power — initially directed against King George III — and the Constitution written, in part, to allow a strong federal government without feeding the beast of Tyranny.

Yet, today, I’m not bemoaning unchecked presidential power. Instead, the opposite: an important presidential power that Mr. Obama lets lie unused.

What is that power?

The executive’s power to pardon, defined in Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

Yesterday, George Lardner Jr., a scholar with the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, and Political Science Professor P. S. Ruckman Jr., the editor of the Pardon Power Blog, reported in an op-ed for The Washington Post, that “Obama has a clemency record comparable to the least merciful presidents in history. He has granted just 70 pardons, the lowest mark for any full-term president since John Adams, and 187 commutations of sentence.”

“Obama’s record is all the more deplorable because of assurances that he has made,” argue Lardner and Ruckman, noting that the Department of Justice’s Clemency Project 2014 — designed to provide relief to non-violent drug offenders and announced “to great fanfare” — has “become a bureaucratic disaster.”

With all the injustice found even in the best justice systems, I cannot understand how a compassionate person could ignore this power. Or use it, as President Bill Clinton did, to provide last-minute pardons for cronies and high-rolling campaign contributors.

Have mercy.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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Obama, clemency, pardon, mercy, crime, Common Sense, illustration


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  1. JFB says:

    I am surprised, but am most reluctant to recommend to the present President any addition use of  his discretion. 

  2. Pat says:

    Not to worry. Before he leaves office he will issue pardons to anyone and everyone who furthered his goals for the dismantlement of American justice. Hillary Clinton, Lois Lerner and Eric Holder and company have absolutely nothing to worry about.

  3. Carl Fisher says:

    What is with this “have mercy” insanity. Obama will be more than happy to pardon Hillary Clinton so she can ascend to her destiny as President. Good God Y’all!

  4. Carl Fisher says:

    No! I only sent it once. Nice try…

  5. Paul Jacob says:

    Thank you, Carl, for your excellent song reference. Much appreciated.

    It is at least theoretically possible to have mercy on those unfairly hurt in the justice process and not to use the pardon power to simply help cronies. No, I’m not holding my breath. 

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