Vail Law column: The constitution and the president’s power to pardon – Colorado News

Vail Law column: The constitution and the president’s power to pardon – Colorado News

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series.

When a priest seeks forgiveness, he tracks down another priest to intercede for him. When a rabbi pursues absolution, he beseeches it of God. Yom Kippur is a good time for such a heart-to-heart. When this president angles for a pardon, he makes an appointment with … himself?

Say what?

This is the latest in the seemingly endless new precedents from this unprecedented president.

Deep breath now.

It seems the president has come to the ripe conclusion that he may exercise the presidential power to pardon in favor of his friends, family and even of himself. He needs only to see himself to … pardon himself? Keeping in sight, of course that, according the president, neither he, his friends or family have done a darn thing wrong and there is nothing to pardon in the first place.


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Let’s toss this under the microscope for a quick forensic peek.

Consulting with Merriam-Webster, the word “pardon” means “the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty,” “a release from the legal penalties of an offense,” “an official warrant of remission of penalty,” or “excuse or forgiveness for a fault, offense or discourtesy; ‘I beg your pardon.’ ‘She asked my pardon for taking up so much of my time’.”

Let’s focus on this last bit; “I beg your pardon.” And now let’s insert the president; “I, the president, beg your, the president’s, pardon,” or “He, the president, asked my, the president’s, pardon for taking up some much of his, the president’s time.” It rings a little odd, wouldn’t you agree?

Pardoning, at least in my humble estimation, presupposes that you are asking someone — or some…

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