The White House has long pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey every year, and this year, Barack Obama pardoned the second turkey of his presidency. Dan Froomkin, reporter for the Huffington Post, wrote, “He [Obama] has, however, yet to pardon a single human” (read Turkey Spared – But Obama’s Compassion For Humans Comes Up Short).
After reading the title of Froomkin’s article, I thought, Here we go, another bleeding heart liberal article similar to something I would write. But the article is good, and not bleeding.
Froomkin writes: “A president’s power to grant clemency is broad, unilateral and absolute.” Like God. “Obama, a constitutional lawyer by training, and the first African-American president, could issue pardons and commutations that make a powerful statement about the justice system past and present.”
According to the article, Obama has denied 71 pardon requests and 605 commutation requests sent by the Justice Department. So, it’s not like Obama has been too ‘tied up’ with the economic failure, predator drone bombing, and Afghanistan quagmire. And, don’t forget, the constant threat posed by WikiLeaks.
(If you don’t know about WikiLeaks, readJulian Assange, Founder of WikiLeaks, Walks Out of CNN Interview, or readFounder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange to Larry King: You Should Be Ashamed, or readWikileaks to Unleash Massive New Cache of Documents).
He’s been denying pardons, and has become the second slowest president in history to use his power of pardoning. The first slowest president to use his clemency power? George W. Bush Jr.
I urge you to read Froomkin’s article (read it here).The issue of turkeys, Obama, and presidential pardons might not seem important, but Obama could make a huge statement on America’s judicial system by granting clemency to specific individuals he feels are worthy. And, certainly, there are a few men and women, out of the 2.5 million Americans locked up, who do not belong in prison.
The Justice Department is processing 5,000 petitions for pardon. It’s not like Obama is freeing Barabbas. The president could pardon a few non-violent drug offenders. Jimmy Carter, the article notes, granted a pardon to an entire group of people-those who dodged the Vietnam War draft.
And that was sweet of Jimmy Carter. Pardoning worthy criminals is just another area that Obama could ‘make a loud statement’ about America’s ‘state of affairs’.
2010: The Best Year to Die (read it here, before time runs out).