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Presidential Pardon and Impeachment

June 6, 2018

iDoes the president have the right to pardon who he wants? We hear that question asked now. And can or could he pardon himself? I believe the correct answer to those two questions is yes he does and yes he can. Except in cases of impeachment. That means he can pardon anyone, including himself for crimes against the Unites States. But he can not pardon himself from being impeached. The fact that the constitution adds that restriction to the power to pardon means to me the authors considered whether or not he could pardon himself, decided he could, and adding the restriction to make sure everyone knew he could not use the power to pardon to keep himself from being removed from office for committing high crimes and misdemeanors. Abuse of the power to pardon would be a high crime and misdemeanor for which he could be impeached.

The authors of the constitution wanted to make it clear that congress had the power and authority to remove the president from office. High crimes and misdemeanors in 1790 when the constitution was written meant any abuse of power, misuse of power, or failure  to perform the duties of the office. It included negligence and dereliction of duty. It is a pretty broad power.

It is up to congress and the Supreme Court to control the president. The surpreme court can rule his acts unconstitutional if a lawsuit is brought.  Congress has others ways of control the president. They should act on their own using their own judgment to decide on how to deal with, control our remove the president. Unfortunately, due to our campaign rules and practice, congressmen act and follow the desires of their largest and major contributors.  Letters from voters and changes in poll numbers help and may be considered by congressmen but studies of their actions and votes bear out the facts that they are more likely and most often do what their backers and sources of their campaign funds want rather that the people.

There may be ways to achieve that by changing our rules regarding campaign contributions. We seem to be going in the other direction. Changes to other rules and laws regarding campaigns and elections could also make elected officials more responsive to the voters. Whether that will be done and those changes made remains to be seen.





From → Observation

One Comment
  1. I couldn’t agree more with you regarding campaign financing. I think this is the basis of many of the problems we have gotten ourselves into. Eisenhower warned that the biggest threat to democracy would be the military industrial complex, and how true his words have turned out to be. Somehow, our country has been sold out and those who could get us out of this mess have been the sellers. The only power we seem to have right now is our vote. The purpose of how our ship of state was set up was to create balance, and unfortunately, we seem to be so unbalanced that we are in danger of sinking!

    I appreciate the reasonableness of all your posts that I have read and I agree that it seems impossible that we will ever unite, but if you look at history, these groundswells of hatred and bigotry seem to become satiated in time and to recede. We all have all things within us. It is our choice what we choose to act upon. Some of the most violent societies in the past, if you would look at them today, seem safe and sane again. I think it just takes the “wrong” leader to stir up those negative characteristics again.

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