On Pardons

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Thers makes a comparison.

As I’ve mentioned before, I actually think that the narrow issue of not granting a pardon to Karla Faye Tucker (as opposed to his conduct afterward and his general attitude towards the death penalty) constitutes one of the few times that Bush has acted with any integrity. The pro-death penalty conservatives who wanted Tucker pardoned were advancing a truly indefensible and indeed disgusting position; if people don’t feel comfortable with executing attractive Christian white women, the only acceptable solution is to abolish the death penalty, not to reserve it for poor black men. As Matt says, the Libby pardon presents an excellent example of why use of the arbitrary pardoning/commutation power is generally a bad idea, and the fact that its use has declined is a good thing in general. Connections and publicity end up mattering more than the merits, and if we’re not willing to apply draconian punishments to certain individuals we shouldn’t apply them to anybody. How often has Bush used this power to exempt anyone who isn’t a political ally from punishment?

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