Thursday, December 25, 2008

Awesome! Secretary, stay that Pardon and Drop that Kick:

JMM is reporting something phenomenally funny from the Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight:

Only a day after issuing a presidential pardon to Isaac Robert Toussie, a real estate scammer from Brooklyn, President Bush decided to reverse the pardon, after it emerged that Toussie's father had contributed almost $30,000 to the Republican party.

Pardons are absolute. They can't be reviewed or reconsidered or overturned, even by the president who issued them. According to the White House press release, President Bush had sent a "Master Warrant of Clemency" with 19 names to the Pardon Attorney at DOJ to execute. But he hadn't executed it yet. In other words, the White House is claiming none of these folks had actually been pardoned yet. So the president can just send word now not to 'execute' that one pardon.

I'd be curious to hear from constitutional lawyers on this. But I'm not sure the constitution would recognize this distinction. And to be arch about it, I think the unitary theory of the executive would suggest that the pardon is full and irrevocable once the president says he's doing it. The power is the president's -- not the pardon attorney's once the president sends on the request. The constitution doesn't recognize or take any cognizance of the administrative procedures they've developed at the Justice Department.

I would think Toussie's attorneys could make a pretty solid argument that the bell's been rung. Too late.

I pray Toussie's lawyers lose and whoever is given the "warrant" for the Pardon of all of Bush's Pardonees simply loses the Pardon until after Obama gets in. Then let the constitutional lawyers battle it out whether a post facto, presidentialy posthumous pardon--of Dick Cheney, say--is still legal.

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