Can Trump advance? Power of grace, explanation


Yes. The Constitution does not prohibit graces that give the appearance of self-interest or conflict of interest, even if they may provoke political retaliation and public shame.

Shortly before he resigned in 1993, President George Bush sought pardon from six Reagan government officials “for their conduct in the Iranian counter-affairs case,” including Caspar W. Weinberger, a former defense secretary who was brought to justice on charges of he was. he lied to Congress. During the trial, Independent Prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh planned to examine whether Bush had played a greater role than he acknowledged as Vice President, and Mr Walsh accused Bush of “disguising”.

In 2001, shortly before leaving office, President Bill Clinton issued a number of controversial pardons, including to his half-brother, Roger Clinton, for a 1985 cocaine sentence for which he served about a year in prison, and to Susan H. McDougal, a former Clinton business partner. , who was imprisoned as part of the Whitewater investigation.

This is not clear. Usually, graces are written by explicitly describing which crimes or sets of activities they refer to. There is little precedent that determines the extent to which grace can be applied to exclude criminal liability for anything and everything.

In particular, Ford’s “complete, free and absolute grace” to Nixon was extremely wide-ranging. It covered all federal crimes that Nixon “committed or could have committed” during his presidency, rather than listing specific cases or categories of activities. But because prosecutors did not try to liquidate Nixon, the validity of this rare, open-ended pardon was not tested.

Aaron Rappaport, a law professor at the University of California (Hastings), argued in a law journal article this year that grace should be specific about what it covers. He quoted the English common-law principles that informed the founders of their understanding of grace as well as fundamental democratic values. Nevertheless, he also acknowledged that “the Supreme Court has never recognized the existence of a requirement of specificity”.

This is not clear. There is no definitive answer, because no president has ever tried to obtain clemency for himself, and then he was brought to justice anyway. As a result, there has never been a case that has given the Supreme Court an opportunity to resolve the issue. In the absence of a controlling precedent, legal thinkers are divided on the matter.