Tags: Donald Trump | Trump Administration | pardon | commutation | attorney | lawyer | margaret colgate love

Lawyer: Trump's Pardons Really Aren't Out of the Ordinary

Lawyer: Trump's Pardons Really Aren't Out of the Ordinary
President Donald Trump (AP)

By    |   Monday, 11 June 2018 03:39 PM

President Donald Trump's pardons "represent a classic and justifiable" use of the power, though the process "makes a mockery of pardon power's historical operation," according to a former U.S. pardon attorney.

Margaret Colgate Love, who held the Office of the Pardon Attorney from 1990 to 1997, argued in Dallas News that Trump has done "nothing surprising or necessarily alarming" with his use of the pardon power.

"There is nothing surprising or necessarily alarming about Trump's embrace of this broad executive power — even if it has been unconventional," she wrote. "His grants to date, at least as he explains them, represent a classic and justifiable use of pardon power to draw attention to injustice and inefficiency in the law. While many may disagree with the president's choices, each of them speaks to some widely acknowledged dysfunction in the criminal justice system."

Love compares Trump's pardoning Alice Marie Johnson to "President Barack Obama's program of sentence commutations," and his pardoning of former sheriff Joe Arpaio to "President Ronald Reagan's decision to fulfill a campaign promise by preemptively pardoning two FBI officials who had approved illegal surveillance of domestic terrorists."

She adds, "Trump's grants to date send a message that business as usual in the criminal justice system will not be tolerated. That is how pardon power was designed to work by the framers of the Constitution," though she does admit the pardon process "is troublesome."

"Trump appears to be relying exclusively on random, unofficial sources of information and advice to select the lucky beneficiaries of his official mercy," Love wrote. "This makes a mockery of pardon power's historical operation as part of the justice system, manifested by its administration by the Justice Department since the Civil War."

She concludes, "There are many reasons to be guardedly grateful that Trump has taken an interest in this time-honored constitutional power. But now we must encourage him to use it more responsibly for the benefit of those who have no friends in high places, if not for the benefit of his own legacy."

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Though the presidential pardon process "makes a mockery of pardon power’s historical operation," a former U.S. pardon attorney says President Donald Trump's pardons "represent a classic and justifiable" use of the power.
pardon, commutation, attorney, lawyer, margaret colgate love, constitution
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2018-39-11
Monday, 11 June 2018 03:39 PM
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