Presidential Power

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The Presidential power to pardon people for the crime they have been convicted off is something that is used by the President to gain political support and leverage. It has normally been used by the President to help their friends and political allies. In many cases, the President goes pardon crazy on his last day in office; pardoning people left and right for future political support. This power is granted to the President under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. It states that the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” However, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted this to include all the powers of clemency, giving the President the power to grant pardons, conditional pardons, conditional and non-conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites, and amnesties.

All petitions to get a pardon from the President are addressed to the President, who either grants or denies the request. While a presidential pardon will restore various rights lost as a result of the pardoned offense and should lessen to some extent the opprobrium or humiliation arising from a conviction, it will not expunge or remove the record of that conviction. So the person who was pardon will still have the conviction on his record. The number of pardons varies from President, but recently, fewer pardons have been given out since World War II. The power to pardon was controversial from the beginning. Anti- Federalists still remembered royalty abuse the power in Europe and warned that it would happen here as well. The first high profile pardon was by George Washington, who, on the final day of office, granted pardon to leaders of the Whiskey Rebellion. Two other high profile instances involving the pardon power include Ford’s pardon to Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton’s controversial pardon to Marc Rich. Every Thanksgiving, a domestic turkey is...
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