October 10, 2008

Attorneys, Scholars, Activist Groups Call for Impeachment if Bush Pardons Himself or His Subordinates

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The Steering Committee of the Justice Robert Jackson Conference On Prosecution of High Level War Criminals plans to demand the immediate impeachment of George W. Bush if he issues any last minute pardons covering himself or any of his subordinates. The president can be impeached and convicted even after leaving office.

The Steering Committee has released the following statement:

The presidential pardon power must not be distorted to include the power to self-pardon the president, or to pardon any staff or contractors of the executive branch, including the vice president, for crimes authorized by the president. The unconstitutionality of self pardons is discussed at length in "Pardon Me? The Constitutional Case Against Presidential Self-Pardons,"

by Brian C. Kalt in the Yale Law Journal, December 1, 1996: http://www.jstor.org/pss/797310

A self pardon by the President for himself or those who carried out his illegal orders to commit war crimes, said the Steering Committee of the Robert Jackson Conference, would make a mockery of the rule of law. It would, in fact, largely put an end to the rule of law. It is frankly inconceivable, said the Steering Committee, that the framers, who sought the rule of law instead of kingly tyranny, could have intended this.

The Steering Committee noted that Bush’s commutation of the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who helped carry out Bush’s plans, suggests the possibility of an attempted self pardon by Bush in the future. Also, the famed journalist Stuart Taylor has suggested a self pardon covering war crimes committed by Bush and his colleagues. A self pardon covering Bush and/or his subordinates, however, would require an immediate impeachment and conviction of the culprits in order to disqualify them from holding any U.S. office in the future and to avoid setting an awful precedent for future presidents to pardon their own crimes and those of subordinates.

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