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Frequent Social Butterfly
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Re: Trump’s pardon of Arpaio can — and should — be overturned

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Although, if Arpaio went straight to the slammer it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, but I think that, if this actually goes to a trial by the Senate it will be an interesting case indeed.

It also will depend on Congress' willingness to pursue this, and I have my doubts about that.

 

Plus, I believe it will hinge on the actual wording of the pardon inasmuch as the president can only be tried and removed for "treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.  The first two are obvious, and pardoning Arpaio for anything won't involve actual treason.  Bribery, on the other hand will be very hard to prove.  The final one is high crimes and misdemeanors, and since presidents can pardon almost anyone at their own discretion (even turkeys) for their own reasons, I think that would be even harder to prove he did anything unconstitutional.

 

Remember when Ford pardoned Nixon?  His words: [bolding mine]

 

"Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974."

 

The MAY HAVE always stuck in my craw because what Ford did was to let Nixon off the hook for anything we didn't even KNOW about at the time.

 

So, since that worked for Nixon, who at the time was just about as hated as Trump is today, I think Congress would have a tough road ahead, assuming they go through with it at all.

I'm no constitutional scholar, but I think that even if Trump's pardon could be overturned, and Arpaio goes to prison, I don't see any way Trump can be impeached or tried over it.

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Valued Social Butterfly
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Re: Trump’s pardon of Arpaio can — and should — be overturned

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This will be interesting to follow, and I'd think that it is very likely to be challenged all the way to the SC. Even a conservative court must be skeptical about a president who would use pardon power to essentially void court orders. 

 

There is also the civil and criminal aspects of this case. Even if Arpaio is pardoned of criminal wrong doing, could he not be sued or otherwise fined in civil court?

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Re: Trump’s pardon of Arpaio can — and should — be overturned

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A well thought out and well written article. A good decision by this judge IMO. Trump has set a dangerous precedence with this pardon.

 

Can't wait for the "adult discussion" from the Right.


"The only thing man learns from history is man learns nothing from history"
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Trump’s pardon of Arpaio can — and should — be overturned

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Trump’s pardon of Arpaio can — and should — be overturned

 

A federal judge in Arizona will soon consider whether to overturn President Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. The answer to this question has consequences not just for Arpaio and the people he hurt but also for the entire country. And although the conventional legal wisdom has been that a presidential decision to grant a pardon is unreviewable, that is wrong. In this circumstance, Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio was unconstitutional and should be overturned.

 

For more than 20 years, Arpaio ran the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office with shocking cruelty and lawlessness, especially against Latinos. In 2011, a federal judge issued an injunction in a lawsuit challenging the practice of detaining and searching people for, in essence, driving while Latino. The judge found evidence that the sheriff’s office engaged in racial profiling and stopped Latinos just to determine their immigration status. He ordered it to cease detaining people without reasonable suspicion of a crime.

 

Arpaio flagrantly ignored the injunction, and in May 2016, the judge found him to be in civil contempt of court. In July, a second federal judge found him in criminal contempt, which can be punished by imprisonment. Three weeks later, Trump pardoned Arpaio. Trump’s Justice Department argues that is the end of the matter, but many constitutional law scholars and advocates disagree. The judge has scheduled an Oct. 4 hearing and ordered further briefing.

 

To understand why Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is so dangerous, step back to 1962, when a federal court ordered the all-white University of Mississippi to admit African American James Meredith. When the Mississippi governor refused to comply, the court directed the Justice Department to prosecute him for criminal contempt of court.

 

At the time, many anti-integration governors vowed “massive resistance” to court-ordered desegregation. The legal struggle against segregation relied on the power of court orders — enforceable by imprisonment for contempt.

 

Now imagine a president such as Trump pardoning the governor for contempt, while praising him, as Trump lauded Arpaio, for “doing his job.”

 

The message to segregationist officials would have been clear: just ignore federal court integration orders; the president will have your back if the court tries to enforce them through its contempt power.

 

No official could have failed to hear that message in the Arpaio pardon. Nor could have any Trump associate in possession of evidence bearing on criminal or impeachable activity by the president. The signal to them all is: You can treat any court order to testify, even with a grant of immunity, as a friendly request and politely decline. You can count on a pardon to protect you from criminal prosecution.

 

Is this use of the pardon power constitutional? In most cases, however controversial, courts should not second-guess the president’s use of the pardon power. But when the Constitution says that the president “shall have Power,” that does not mean unlimitedpower. It means power that is not inconsistent with other parts of the Constitution.

 

For example, the Constitution says “Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,” but that doesn’t mean Congress can tax white people at a different rate than black people. The Constitution says the president “shall have Power” to make treaties, but that doesn’t mean he can make a treaty that abolishes freedom of speech.

 

 The power to pardon is limited by the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that no person be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” That guarantee requires that courts must be able to issue and enforce injunctions to stop constitutional violations by government officials. Otherwise, compliance with a court order would be optional.

 

In 1925, the Supreme Court upheld President Calvin Coolidge’s pardon of a speakeasy operator who had violated a court order to stop selling liquor during Prohibition. But the court has not considered a pardon for contempt since 1925. And it has never considered a pardon issued to a ranking government official for disobeying a court order to stop a systemic practice of violating individuals’ constitutional rights.

 

The framers suggested one solution to the prospect of such abuse. During a Virginia debateover whether to ratify the Constitution, George Mason worried that the president might “pardon crimes which were advised by himself.” James Madison replied that a president who did so could be impeached. Trump’s pardon of Arpaio should trigger congressional hearings on whether it constitutes an impeachable offense.

 

But it strains logic to suggest that, although a president can be removed from office for an unconstitutional pardon, the pardon itself must be judicially enforced. By pardoning Arpaio for his willful disobedience of a court order to stop violating Arizonans’ constitutional rights, Trump has pulled the republic into uncharted waters. Our best guide home is the Constitution.

 

Trump’s pardon of Arpaio can — and should — be overturned


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
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