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Who Will Bush Pardon at Last Moment?

You just know President Bush will pardon some big names just before he exits 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The question now is simply Who?

By Scott Horton
The American Lawyer

For George Washington there was an obvious time for potentially controversial pardons, and that was the day he left office. Washington pardoned the instigators of the Whiskey Rebellion as his last official act. He had good reason to keep a low profile. The Federalists hated the decision. They thought it would fuel uprisings by moonshine-swilling frontiersmen-and they were right.
The tradition of controversial pardons has continued ever since. Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon remains the benchmark, but George H.W. Bush’s pardon of 75 people caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal and Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive billionaire and presidential library supporter Marc Rich register high on the scale.
Ironically, the Rich pardon was engineered by two people very much in the news. One is Scooter Libby, who was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Dechert at the time. Libby, of course, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Valerie Plame affair. His sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush; he is now seeking an extension of that commutation to a full-blown pardon.
The other is Attorney General-designate Eric Holder Jr., who served as deputy attorney general in the last days of the Clinton presidency and pushed the Rich pardon. Holder antici­pates embarrassing questioning on the pardon issue when his nomination comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but at present it doesn’t look like a show-stopper.
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Pingback from Tickle The Wire » Columnist Thinks Bush Should Pardon Scooter Libby
Time January 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm

[…] also disputes Scott Horton’s column below and says: “Libby had nothing to do with Rich’s pardon. Years before he’d […]

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