Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Commuting Libby: Too Far or Not Far Enough

Yesterday, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was told he could not delay his prison term until after his appeal. Less than five hours after this, the President commuted Libby's sentence, removing the two and a half years of prison time, but leaving the conviction and the $250,000 fine. There are people on both sides upset about this. On the left, those who think his sentence shouldn't have been commuted, on the right, those who think the President didn't go far enough and pardon him.

To those who say he didn't deserve the pardon, I ask this, how do you deserve a pardon? You can't deserve a pardon. If you weren't guilty you should be exonerated, not pardoned. A pardon is forgiveness, something not deserved. And yet, our founding fathers invested within the Presidency the pardon to power and commute. Perhaps they shouldn't have. I personally disagree with the tons of pardons that President Clinton signed before he left office. But that's within the President's power. If he wanted to, and if he had enough time, the president could pardon every person in prison in the United States. Total chaos would break out, but its theoretically possible. The very notion of pardon is unfair in a sense. That one person found guilty of a crime should be released from prison and have the conviction removed from their record while another should be left to remain in jail. But I would not remove this power if it was a choice.

I would have to agree that Libby's sentence to two and a half years was excessive. His crime was perjury, but lets keep in mind that not even those convicted in Watergate served two and a half years in prison. So on that grounds alone I think I have to agree with Bush.

Then you have man people thinking Libby took the fall for those higher up in the Bush administration. I'm not sure they were wrong. Some of the jurors have said that they felt the wrong man was on trial. Well, you don't into a trial deciding whether anyone committed a crime, you try the person before you. If you've got the wrong man then return a verdict of not guilty and let another trial be done for the right person. You don't punish someone for a crime, you punish the perpetrator for the crime.

But Libby did commit perjury, and although not deserving of two and a half years, he still broke the law. Some will point out that President Clinton also committed perjury but was never convicted. Perhaps he should have been, although I think it dangerous ground to start putting president's on trial. He was however impeached, and if I remember correctly, had his law license revoked. Libby, if not pardoned by Bush or found not guilty in his appeal, will almost certainly lose his law license as well. (I doubt Libby will earn as high a speaking fee as Clinton does.) If he hadn't lied he wouldn't have been convicted. So I fill forced to agree with Bush's move.

Politically, Bush has most the nation upset with him. He wasn't going to gain any approval and political capital by letting Libby rot in prison. He does however, lose support from those few left by not pardoning him. So perhaps the best political move would be to go ahead and pardon him. I'm sure he kept some of that with the commuting, but I think many are still upset he didn't go far enough.


Anonymous Mr. In The Know said...

The people who would want Bush to pardon Libby are the un-patriotic, mindless, so-called conservatives that have contributed to the degradation of this once great nation. They will never be able to see the insanity of their ways but the rest of us see and understand the truth. The Republicans who don't see the truth are incapable of recognizing the truth. Period! Actions speak louder than words.

Wed Jul 04, 03:54:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Get Over It!!! said...

For all you Bush bashers and Clinton lovers out there that think jumping on Bush for commuting Libby’s sentence is good folly, it is time for you to refresh your memory about the most notorious president to ever shame the highest office in the land. Yes it is your very own BJ Bill.

Your memories are as short as Bill’s… well you know what!!! Take a few minutes and visit this web site. ( http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/pardons6.htm#historic ) Here you will find a list of Bill’s pardons and clemency actions which he strangely granted in the final weeks of his presidency. They include thieves, liars, drug dealers, etc…) Seems Bill, the leader of the beloved democratic crook wanna-be’s had affection for freeing his buddies, no matter what crime they committed.

So get over yourselves and get used to the idea that no matter how bad Bush screwed up this war, Bill still wins the most shameful president in history award.

Wed Jul 04, 09:05:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like pres. Bush for having mercy on mr. libby. He wanted to give the amnesy to us mexicans too but the demo's killed the bill. i hate them mon. Viva Mexico

Wed Jul 04, 09:09:00 AM EDT  

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