News & Politics

Bush Pardon Take-Back Has Precedent, Say Smart People


President Bush’s revocation of his own pardon of Isaac R. Toussie, discussed here earlier, has come under blogger review. A pardon law blog called Pardon Power — we live in an age of wonders — cites the precedent of Ulysses S. Grant’s revocation of two pardons issued by departing President Andrew Johnson to Moses and Jacob DePuy. A federal court upheld Grant’s right; he later pardoned them himself (of what crimes we cannot yet ascertain). Grant also revoked Johnson’s pardon of Richard C. Enright, and of James F. Martin (though Martin had by then “exited the premises” and “no effort was made to put him back”). Of course this does not mean the law in such matters is forever settled, and Josh Marshall considers commentary on Biddle v. Perovich (1927) that suggests a Presidential pardon is irrevocable once the President signs it.

Of course a poster at DailyKos is already asking, as we have, whether this means Obama can revoke Bush’s pardons.



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