I have been reading the stories about the Republican Right and the push for a pardon of I. Scooter Libby. In fact, I have no problem with Libby getting a sentence commutation or for that fact even a Presidential pardon. Just as I had no problem with Clinton pardoning his brother or Mark Rich. It is in the prerogative of the executive. In fact it is one of the few things Bush has done where he hasn't overstepped his bounds.
People need to get a grip. I have heard how he is ignoring the advice of his Justice Dept. Hell, ever since Ashcroft and Gonzales came to town no body else pays it any mind, why should Bush. Besides, what makes anybody think that this Justice Dept. couldn't find a way to agree with the decision if the President told them too.
I think a Presidential pardon, any Presidential pardon, is a good thing. Now you may say that is because I am a criminal defense attorney. You would be wrong however. It is because that being a Constitutionalist, I believe that the Presidential pardon is a check on the judiciary that a President should use anytime he feels it represents his vision of law enforcement. One has to remember that the President is the spokesman for the majority of the people who vote in this land. He is their voice. The court is a check on the majority making sure the majority does not over run a minority and hurt it.
Now it is an important difference. The Constitution allows the Executive to pardon people, but not to enslave them. It cannot use its power to ruin but to free. Even if he were to allow murders or terrorists to be pardoned, he would be doing so as the voice of the majority of the voters, those people who voted for him. As a practical matter that will not happen, but that it could means that the public has a way to overrule the court. It keeps America from becoming a slave to the courts.
Assume for a moment a wave of anti-Christians take over the power of the executive and legislative branches. Assume further that they then persecute the leaders of Christianity. Christians can revolt or they can go to the polls and vote them out in an orderly fashion. Thereafter, a new President can go back and right the wrongs as he sees fit, and as his supporters see fit. Pardons are a pretty good check, the problem with Libby is that he represents things that others find aborhent.
Imagine the outbreak of support by the Neo-Con right and Jewish Americans if Jonathan Pollard were to be pardoned. Imagine how those same people would have felt if Clinton had pardoned Susan McDougal.
Pardons are the one thing a President does not need approval to do. He has the Constitutional right to do as he pleases and we as a people give him that right in the hopes he wields it the way a majority of us would have. SO pardon and commute away Mr. President. Maybe some of your Judicial appointees will see this as what you mean as compassionate conservatism. Maybe they will understand that the Guidelines are not always presumptively reasonable, just like you did for your pal Scooter, and they will start finding more Booker/FanFan reasons to let others have a chance. Who knows, maybe we will start using jail less as a deterrent and less as a punishment and more just to keep society safe, while sending the rest to programs and sentences that will rehabilitate and keep people working and supporting their families instead of going to prison where they will surely negatively affect their children's ability to stop the cycle of crime.