Today there are 16 people who’s lives are considerably different that it was previously. That is because President Bush has pardoned 14 people and he also commuted the prison sentences of two others. While pardoning convicted felons of their federal crimes isn’t something that’s as widely publicized every time it happens, but on average two to four dozen people get pardoned or commuted by the president every year. But you can expect pardons to be widely publicized when it comes to the end of a president’s term. In fact many prisoners aggressively petition the president in his final days for a reprieve.
For those who have been pardoned, need to consider themselves particularly lucky. Pardons are almost as if the crime they committed had never happened. These guys now can own a handgun, find jobs, vote and a host of other rights that everyone else has never lost. Those who had their sentences commuted, weren’t as lucky, but lucky none-the-less.
When a president makes a decision like this, especially when it comes at the end when he has nothing else to lose, many people will not like it to say the least. When President Gerald Ford gave a pre-emptive pardon to Richard Nixon, Ford’s ratings plummeted. Some other controversial pardons of past presidents are Clinton’s pardon of his brother, George H. W. Bush’s pardon of many of those involved in the Iran-Contra affair, Carter giving amnesty to draft dodgers, and back in the 1800s President Andrew Johnson gave thousands of pardons to Confederate soldiers and military personnel after the Civil War. Even the first pardons by George Washington received some flack because people didn’t want it to be similar to royal abuse which they sought to get away from. So today, some worry that Bush in his last days will pardon those involved in harsh interrogations of terror suspects following that terror attacks on September 11th, 2001.
Not for nothin’, but if President Bush pardons anyone else, might he consider Wesley Snipes? We can always use another blade movie, those are always fun!