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Does anyone have any insight as to what our forefathers were thinking when they decided to give the President such absolute power?

Any sitting President could with the stroke of a pen pardon everyone who has ever committed any federal crime, even posthumously or preemptively, and there isn't a thing anyone can do about it.

Seems like a somewhat out of balance power to me.
 

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mb90535im said:
Does anyone have any insight as to what our forefathers were thinking when they decided to give the President such absolute power?

Any sitting President could with the stroke of a pen pardon everyone who has ever committed any federal crime, even posthumously or preemptively, and there isn't a thing anyone can do about it.

Seems like a somewhat out of balance power to me.
What if Congrees made something illegal unconstitutionally and the SCOTUS was unwilling to strike it down. At that point, the president could just pardon everyone accused of it.

Also, if "We the People" don't agree with the president's pardon decision we could refuse to elect the president again or take it out on his/her party in the next election.
 

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http://www.justice.gov/pardon/pardon_instructions.htm
12. Exclusive Presidential authority

The power to grant pardons is vested in the President alone. No hearing is held on the pardon application by either the Department of Justice or the White House. You will be notified when a final decision is made on your petition, and there is no appeal from the President's decision to deny a clemency request. The Office of the Pardon Attorney does not disclose information regarding the nature or results of any investigation that may have been undertaken in a particular case, or the exact point in the clemency process at which a particular petition is pending at a given time. As a matter of well-established policy, the specific reasons for the President's decision to grant or deny a petition are generally not disclosed by either the White House or the Department of Justice. In addition, documents reflecting deliberative communications pertaining to presidential decision-making, such as the Department's recommendation to the President in a clemency matter, are confidential and not available under the Freedom of Information Act. If your petition is denied, you may submit a new petition for consideration two years from the date of denial.
 

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GAGunOwner said:
What if Congrees made something illegal unconstitutionally and the SCOTUS was unwilling to strike it down. At that point, the president could just pardon everyone accused of it.

Also, if "We the People" don't agree with the president's pardon decision we could refuse to elect the president again or take it out on his/her party in the next election.
Both true, but in the case of the latter kind of like closing the barn door after the horses are out.

Example - With the stroke of the pen the President could pardon all illegal aliens that are in the country, similar to the amnesty President Carter extended to draft dodgers in the '70's.

Just seems like an extraordinary power, not suggesting that we should amend the Constitution to eliminate it or anything, just curious as to the rationale behind it, especially considering the scope of it.
 

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In defending the proposed Constitution’s broad grant of authority to the President, the two most often-cited defenders of the clemency power, Hamilton and James Iredell, pursued nearly identical lines of reasoning. First, both emphasized the justice-enhancing aspects of clemency, meaning that the power is necessary to assure that people are treated fairly. Hamilton argued that the "benign prerogative of pardoning" should be as little fettered as possible so that exceptions in favor of "unfortunate guilt" could be made; otherwise, "justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel." The Federalist No. 74, at 447. Mr. Iredell was even more explicit:
Link
 

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2 were Georgians: Russell James Dixon

I wanted to clear my name, before I die, and have a clean record," said Dixon, who turns 73 next Tuesday. "I figured I wouldn't ever get it done."

And there also is this: Dixon likes to hunt for **** and deer with his "grandyoung-uns," as he calls them. He thought someday he might like to buy a new shotgun, which he couldn't do with a felony conviction.
Roxane Kay Hettinger
Another Georgia resident, Roxane Kay Hettinger of Powder Springs, was also among those pardoned. She was sentenced in 1986 to 30 days in jail and three years probation for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
 

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Roxane Kay Hettinger
Another Georgia resident, Roxane Kay Hettinger of Powder Springs, was also among those pardoned. She was sentenced in 1986 to 30 days in jail and three years probation for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
[/quote]

One of my grandfathers was convicted of that in 1994 and served fifteen years. :screwy:
 

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mb90535im said:
Just seems like an extraordinary power, not suggesting that we should amend the Constitution to eliminate it or anything, just curious as to the rationale behind it, especially considering the scope of it.
Because more freedom is a good thing.

I'd rather 1,000 guilty people go free that one innocent person be locked up or worse.

A pardon can only be used to increase your freedoms -- not take them away. In that sense, I wouldn't put it in the same category as other government actions which can only take away freedoms. IMO, the "power" to pardon is a good one and is undeserving of the negative connotation of other government "powers".
 

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spector said:
I'd rather 1,000 guilty people go free that one innocent person be locked up or worse.
I agree. I've actually had conversations with folks who believe exactly the opposite. (would rather an innocent person go to prison than a guilty person go free)
 

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mb90535im said:
spector said:
I'd rather 1,000 guilty people go free that one innocent person be locked up or worse.
I've actually had conversations with folks who believe exactly the opposite. (would rather an innocent person go to prison than a guilty person go free)
I've had that conversation too. More disturbingly, people make similar statements about killing people: "Kill em all and let god sort em out", etc. I can't imagine being ok with that type of wanton killing, but I imagine there typically isn't much thought behind such statements.

To answer your original question, I think the "power" of the pardon was seen as a good one because it errs on the side freedom. I very much agree. Especially these days, when you consider that just about everything is a felony (http://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Da ... 1594032556) and if you are convicted of a felony you lose your right to ever posses a gun FOR LIFE.

A pardon is the only way to have that right re-instated. At least in practical terms, that is. I think there are some other legal pathways to restoring firearms rights but they aren't available right now.
 

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Reading up a little on this subject I was surprised to learn, contrary to what I have always thought, that a pardon does not erase the record of the conviction.

For example, if you were applying for a position that required a background check and was asked the "have you ever been convicted..." question, technically you would need to answer, "yes, but I have been pardoned" because the original conviction is still on record.

I guess that is where "expunged" comes into play maybe?
 

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mb90535im said:
Reading up a little on this subject I was surprised to learn, contrary to what I have always thought, that a pardon does not erase the record of the conviction.

For example, if you were applying for a position that required a background check and was asked the "have you ever been convicted..." question, technically you would need to answer, "yes, but I have been pardoned" because the original conviction is still on record.

I guess that is where "expunged" comes into play maybe?
I think you can only expunge arrests, not convictions.

Apparently there are two types of pardons, and one erases your record whereas one does not. Thanks google.
 
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