Donald Trump; Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump; Donald Trump Jr. (Credit: AP/Evan Vucci/Carolyn Kaster)

Was it legal for Ronald Reagan to pardon George Steinbrenner? Was it legal for Richard Nixon to pardon Jimmy Hoffa? Was it legal for Bill Clinton to pardon Patty Hearst? Yes, yes and yes.

Yet presidential pardon power is vast, but not limitless. As the Department of Justice makes crystal clear, the presidential pardon power does not extend to crimes that violate the laws of any of the fifty states.

According to the US Constitution, “The president… shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” Like so much of the Constitution, the framers were sparing in the language that courts must now interpret.

One of the few Supreme Court cases on pardons is Burdick v. United States. In Burdick, the court considered the case of an editor of the New York Tribune newspaper (Burdick) who would not name his source for a story about fraud at the city’s US Custom House. In 1914, Burdick was offered a pardon by President Woodrow Wilson. He refused to accept the pardon and was …read more

Source:: Salon – Politics

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