Presidential pardons are one of the few absolute powers of the
presidency crystallizing an inherent problem – absolute power.
Presidents dole out hundreds of pardons during their time in office,
mostly at the end of their term with many very controversial.
George Washington pardoned several men connected with the Whiskey
Rebellion. Richard Nixon pardoned former Teamster Union President,
Jimmy Hoffa, with a major stipulation that he could not return to any
union activities for a certain period. Bill Clinton pardoned international
fugitive, Marc Rich, along with his own half brother, Roger Clinton.
Donald Trump pardoned Salomon Melgen, a doctor who defrauded
Medicare out of tens of millions of dollars; and of course there was
Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon.
There is a definite place in our society for pardons and clemency.
Whether it should remain solely in the hands of the president and be
absolute is the real question. I am personally in favor of instituting a
stronger check and balance and/or curtailment of the power. There are
many options such as limiting the number of pardons allowed, having
corresponding congressional approval and/or justice department
approval; to the types of crimes and sentence served to date as a
It is certainly worthy of a discussion and study.