Why we need more presidential pardons

Can President Trump learn from Obama's presidential mercy?

The president holds the key.
(Image credit: Gary Waters / Alamy Stock Photo)

President Donald Trump has awe-inspiring authority and power at his fingertips. It's an experience that his presidential predecessors have called profoundly humbling. Of course, most of that authority comes with significant restrictions, thanks to the checks and balances of the Constitution and the need for alliances at home and abroad to effectively use them. Most presidents have come to both appreciate and resent those limits.

But there is one authority granted to the office that is plenary, unchecked, and solitary: the power of clemency on federal offenses. Grants of pardon and commutation cannot be reconsidered or changed by any other official. The only boundaries on that role are self-imposed, based on politics, priorities, and the president's own view of injustice.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.