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Constitutional Amendment Limiting Pardon Power Could Be Big Winner
Published on July 7, 2007 By Sean Conners aka SConn1 In US Domestic
A lot has been said over the past few weeks over President Bush's handling of the Scooter Libby case. Amongst the rhetoric was an exchange between the Clinton camp and the White House where charges of "being above the law" were met with new definitions of "chutzbah" by the respective foes.

And we were all certainly entertained.

But President Bush's actions have seemed to do far worse damage than anything that involved Mark Rich. As seemingly corrupt as that move was, and make no mistake about it, even the most die-hard Clinton supporters have to cringe when they think about what was prbably the worst thing that President Clinton ever did, the Libby cummutation was worse.

This for many more Americans was if not "the straw" that broke the camel's back, certainly one of them. The move solidified their reputation as acting as if they are simply superior to any law, any legislature, any court or anyone. And that's both here and abroad. At a time we are supposed to be "spreading democracy" and the virtues of a society that lives by "the rule of law."

They have put forth the most obscure and reaching arguments for holding their precious secrecy and non-accountability. They have ignored whomever they pleased to further their agenda. They've tortured the Geneva Convention in order to justify the torture of whomever they choose, no matter how reckless they are and how many innocent people suffer. A Vice-President that wants to conveniently vault from one branch of government to another when he is to be held accountable for anything forcing everyone else to play "whack-a-mole" with him and his cronies. And a President who simply excludes himself from much of the legislation he signs with an additional stroke of his pen.

It's gotten to the point where impeachment talk is no longer just coming from the fringe Left of the Democratic party, but even from the right. Former NSA director under Ronald Reagan, William Odom.

In an article published on Nieman Watchdog back in 2005, part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Odom looks at all of the fears of "stay the coursers," e.g., civil war, loss of U.S. credibility, emboldening the insurgency and undermining democracy, causing Iraq to be a haven for terrorists, increasing the influence of Iran, spreading unrest in the region, clashes between Sunni and Shiite groups, needing to train Iraq military and police and causing the morale of U.S. troops to suffer. To each concern Odom concludes... it is already happening and will be made worse if we stay in Iraq. He describes a need to "to unmask the absurdity of the administration's case."

Odom has also now called on Congress to either use it's power of the purse once and for all, to reign in this out of control Administration. And if that doesn't work, look towards impeachment. He says....

*Redefine what "supporting the troops" means.

*Flatly refuse to appropriate war funds "for anything but withdrawal operations with a clear deadline for completion."

*If that doesn’t work, Congress should impeach the President for "the ‘high crime’ of squandering the lives of soldiers and Marines for his own personal interest."


But impeachment is highly unlikely, considering the odds are more in favor of the administration to be able to "run out the clock" and dump all it's failures on the next administration.

And despite the failures of this administration, the Democrats want one of their guys (or gal) to be in there to clean the mess up. And they might not have to go as far as to impeach either the Vice President or President to do it.

What the Democrats should do is propose a Constitutional Amendment. One that strips the President of any pardon / commutation power for himself, any member of their administration or any political apointee of theirs. The President of the next administration would still have the power to pardon previous administration officials, as Ford did with Nixon.

No one has ever resolved the question of whether a President can pardom themselves. Most scholars belive that it would violate the spirit, but not the letter of the law. For one thing, this ammendment would clarify that question.

This ammendment would put to rest what most Constitutional debates are clear about. That the power of pardon was not seen as a weapon for the president to wield in interbranch disputes. It was intended to bring mercy in specific cases in which the law created an injustice when correctly applied, or to provide national healing when the application of the law is working against domestic tranquility.

And unlike an impeachment process, an amendment can be done in a relatively short period of time. For example, the right for 18 year olds to vote was passed in a matter of a few months, as an energized nation immediately saw the injustice of kids being sent to die without the right of voting extended to them.

And as each day passes, more and more Americans are uniting behind the idea that this President and Vice President think they are beyond any law and that is just wrong in the worst way. And it really doesn't matter where their political persuasions are otherwise. It's easy to see how mad one could become if "the shoe was on the other foot." And most Americans realize that the proverbial shoe will switch feet many times in their lifetime. And that no one, not even the President, is above the law. And no good American wants to see any power, especially Constittional power abused by anyone.

And if the Democrats propose such an amendment, they get one of two things. They either get an Amendment to campaign on, a strong showing of "standing up for the average American" that will be hard to argue with or they get an issue to beat over the Republicans head from Hawaii to Maine. Democrats should propose an amendment limiting the pardon power and simply dare Republicans in Congress to go into the elections on behalf of Bush’s right to break the law.

And I have a feeling this administration is going to be dealing with investigations long after January of 2009. And the next President might eventually be asked to consider pardons for this administration. And this Constitutional amendment might help solidify a democrat being in the position to make that decision.

The only thing that might throw a wrench into that plan is if a republican legislator beats them to the punch.

Comments (Page 1)
on Jul 07, 2007
so, i am an average american who agrees that 30 months was a pretty harsh sentence for a guy who didn't really do much wrong. sure, he was maybe trying to cover something up, but what he was trying to cover up was nothing as it turned out.

this kind of article is what people mean when they say "those loonies on the left."
the left jumped all over this thing, this outing so hard, looking to crucify someone, and when it came to light that nothing illegal had really happened, they just couldn't let it go. someone had to pay. pay for what? nothing.

okay, forget about all that. you want a dem to propose a constitutional amendment.
"the only thing that might throw a monkey wrench into that plan is if a republican legislator beats them to the punch."
that shows me that you don't care about whats good for the country, in this case. you just want your party to win. to have the power. if you wanted this to happen for all of our good, then who cares who proposes it?

it is funny to me that because you don't agree with or like this administration, you put it out there that they may need pardons later on. they aren't breaking any more laws than any other administration. you (and many like you) just hate them so much that your heads may explode.

bush has done a lot of things during the last 6 or 7 years. things that have nothing to do with war or pardoning people you don't like. people who, by the way have had an un-blemished record of public service for decades before this minor hiccup. is their anything he has done that you like? i hope so. i think clinton was a pretty lame pres. one who made a mockery of the american presidency in front of the whole world, and who was proven to be a liar, but i still can think of some things he did that i liked.

before you go into how much other countries around the world dislike bush, remember that the whole world hating us for the moves we are making around the world, and them laughing at us because our pres got a hummer under the big desk are two very different things.

bush isn't evil incarnate. he's just a guy with a lot on his plate. i for sure don't agree with everything he's done as pres. but i do believe that he wants to and is trying to do whats right. call me a sucker, but thats what i think.
on Jul 08, 2007

I think you need to get out more, and read more, from a wider variety of viewpoints.  Your immersion into the biased MSM (I know, in your world only Faux News is biased), and your lack of understanding that the only outrage is coming from the lunatic fringe and the leadership playing to that fringe has gotten you to commit the same crime that you juimped on MM for.

proposing stupid Amendments that contribute nothing to society, yet make some people feel good.

This is a dead issue.  The right did a lot of tub thumping about Clinton's pardons, but did nothing of substance.  Why?  because it was not illegal.  And unethical was already the legacy of that administration (unethical is not illegal).

on Jul 08, 2007
same crime that you juimped on MM for.


nope...what MM did was use the ammendment process to attempt to take away rights from the citizens. what is proposed here is limiting the power of government and ensuring the pardon process won't be abused as it has been, not only by this administration, but by others.

and you can cry the "lunatic fringe" and all that, but the fact of the matter is that reform and limiting the power of government, esp the executive right now, is a very mainstream idea.

it's the idea that's mainstream, not the media. but i expect that from ya'll, lol. but folks, the far right and neoconserative charges of everyone else who disagrees with them and their unfettered pissing on the Constitution are all "loony" and so forth have worn beyond thin...they've worn out.


like i said in the article, if the GOP wants to defend Bush and Cheney to the bone into 2008, it's political suicide. and despite what ya'll think of me, i really don't want the country to make a radical swing left...and i'm glad to see some republicans selectively peeling away from Bush.

if a republican introduced this type of ammendment it would steal the democrats thunder in a major way.
on Jul 08, 2007
nope...what MM did was use the ammendment process to attempt to take away rights from the citizens. what is proposed here is limiting the power of government and ensuring the pardon process won't be abused as it has been, not only by this administration, but by others.


Actually, no. MM was not proposing taking rights away from citizens. Since his amendment would have made sure they were not citizens to begin with.

But this is the same, much to your chagrin. Right now, citizens have the right to petition the President for a pardon - regardless of where they work. You would remove that right.

But my reference to the "loons" was not about anyone, just what the democrats are saying and why. You have decided to use that for your own diatribe that has nothing to do with my point, or indeed with this article. The simple fact is that most people (as in not running for president) dont give a whit about Libby and the commutation (so your amendment would not work there), and it is only being hyped by the press because the little dwarves running for president are saying so. And they are only saying so because of the lunatic fringe. If you want to count yourself among them, go ahead.

And finally, my other point about "Clinton" and his pardons shows that there is no traction there. It is a non-issue with almost every one, including the 8 little dwarves, as the next time it will happen, more than likely it will be a dem president, and they will be defending it.
on Jul 08, 2007
Right now, citizens have the right to petition the President for a pardon - regardless of where they work. You would remove that right.


you view it as citizens, i view it as the government.
on Jul 09, 2007

Why should I listen to anything about pardons when the guy who actually did the "outing" has never once been charged with anything?  If anything, we need an ammendment limiting the authority of the Legislative Branch to conduct whichhunts long after the facts of the case have been learned... and ignored.

Face it Sean, the only thing Libby was guilty of was taking any of it seriously.  He got 2 and a half years for what Clinton lost the license to practice law that he hadn't used in years anyway.

Clinton didn't just abuse his authority to pardon, he SOLD it.  He pardoned people who commited violent crimes.  For you to say that Bush did worse by merely commuting Libby's sentence exposes you as the partisan you deny being.

on Jul 09, 2007
An ammendment doing away with the ability of the President to pardon individuals will never happen. There is not a party (take your pick) that would even go along with this ideal. Why?, because it is one of the tools of government which our fore fathers felt was needed to help control things that our own government has a tendency to do to its own citizens.

There may be some fool (from either party) who may propose something as stupid as an ammendment to take this ability away; however, there is no congress (either democratic or republican) that would approve such simple minded stupidity. This is something which all parties can benefit from. This allows a President to (possibly) correct a mistake make by either Congress or the Judiciary branches of our government.

And, if you think such a thing will happen, then you live in a world of utter fantacy.

Just A Thought - Pam
on Jul 09, 2007
An ammendment doing away with the ability of the President to pardon individuals will never happen. There is not a party (take your pick) that would even go along with this ideal. Why?, because it is one of the tools of government which our fore fathers felt was needed to help control things that our own government has a tendency to do to its own citizens.


pam,,,if you are gonna make comments...at least read the article. i do not anywhere propose taking away pardon power from the president as it concerns the citizens. only where it concerns their own government.

such simple minded stupidity


kinda funny when you call others simple minded and stupid and you fail to grasp what this article said.

on Jul 09, 2007
If anything, we need an ammendment limiting the authority of the Legislative Branch to conduct whichhunts long after the facts of the case have been learned... and ignored.


they got al capone with tax evasion...do ya think that was all he did?

Why should I listen to anything about pardons when the guy who actually did the "outing" has never once been charged with anything?


because whatever armitage did fitzgerald doesn't think he can get a conviction under the espionage act. and armitage didn't lie to the FBI or a grand jury. scooter did.

this investigation was conducted by a republican apointee...a non partisan jury found him guilty...a bush appointee judge sentenced him and more bush apointee judges upheld the ruling.

the "partisan witchhunt" nonsense is ridiculous

on Jul 09, 2007
I do not favor an amendment but Impeachment. By removing Bush and Cheney for lying and usurping power we would set a standard for future presidents that says you are NOT above the law. That is the lesson both Bush and Cheney need to learn!
on Jul 09, 2007
ColGene, when do you stand trial for lying when you accepted your commision as a Nuclear Officer?
on Jul 09, 2007
By removing Bush and Cheney for lying and usurping power we would set a standard for future presidents that says you are NOT above the law.


Bush and Cheney are not going to be impeached.  You guys need to get that through your heads. 


on Jul 09, 2007
Bush and Cheney are not going to be impeached. You guys need to get that through your heads.


i believe i said that. i think proposing the ammendment would be a far more effective move and be the right thing. a rare combination in today's politics, lol.
on Jul 09, 2007
simple minded stupidity.




You know, your rude remarks about the mental capacities of others would carry more weight if you could spell.

Firefox with spellcheck is your friend.
on Jul 10, 2007
simple minded stupidity.




You know, your rude remarks about the mental capacities of others would carry more weight if you could spell.

Firefox with spellcheck is your friend.


And I wouldn't call misspelling 2 words a big deal either. Amendment twice and fantasy once.

And a lot of people won't use Firefox or Monzilla. I'll stick with IE 7 and ieSpell, thank you very much. After having been in the computer industry for about 20 years....I'm not too awful fond of either one of the non-MS offerings. And I guess since I can spell I could make rude remarks about other peoples intelligence, right?