What Is Presidential Pardon Power And Are There Limits To Its Use?
U.S. presidents have the power to issue pardons to individuals for certain crimes. When a president prepares to leave office, pardons typically start to pour out of the Oval Office.
President Trump is said to be considering the use this power to preemptively pardon his family members or himself ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Biden. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal, but no previous presidents have done so for themselves.
How does executive clemency work and are there limits to its use? Who can be pardoned and for what kinds of crimes?
How have previous U.S. presidents used the pardon power? What are the arguments for and against issuing pardons in certain situations?
How can clemency be used as a political tool? Should the process be reformed and if so, how would that happen?
- Rachel Barkow, vice dean and Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy at NYU School of Law and Policy, faculty director for NYU's Center on the Administration of Criminal Law and author of "Prisoners of Politics"
- Paul Larkin, Jr., senior legal research fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation
- Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, professor at Stetson University College of Law and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, December 15.