Posner and Hemel cite the precedent of the Justice Department and FBI's investigation of President Bill Clinton for possible bribery on account of his pardon of Marc Rich. If an ex-president can be investigated for potential federal bribery for a potentially abusive pardon, the thinking goes, he can be charged with obstruction of justice for a potentially abusive pardon. Margaret Colgate Love, the U.S. pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997 and one of the foremost experts on presidential pardons, agreed with that assessment. "If he pardoned for money or pardoned corruptly, I would think that that could be prosecuted," she told me. "I don't think that he could do whatever he wants with the pardon power.
Arpaio didn't submit a pardon application through the Office of the Pardon Attorney. His pardoning also took place before he was sentenced. Arpaio was convicted July 31 of misdemeanor contempt of court for intentionally defying a 2011 court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. He had been set to be sentenced Oct. 5 and faced up to six months in jail. The fact that Arpaio was pardoned for a misdemeanor offense, which carries a penalty of less than a year in jail, is also unusual.
As for Trump's pardon power, it is at least arguable that the founders anticipated the possibility that a president might pardon himself. As my National Review colleague, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, noted last year: "The Pardon Clause says that while the president may pardon any federal offense, this does not extend to'Cases of Impeachment.' The Framers thus expressly considered a president's potential use of the pardon power to benefit himself."
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrives at a campaign rally for Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump in Phoenix, Arizona, June 18, 2016. President Donald Trump has exercised his pardon power for the first time, using it to pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution says: "The President … shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." The president's power can only be used to pardon someone for a federal crime, not a state one. HOW DOES THE PARDON PROCESS USUALLY WORK?
Under new legislation, thousands of gay and bisexual men will receive posthumous pardons from the UK government. Dubbed the "Alan Turing Law," an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill will rectify old convictions for consensual same-sex relationships, which were decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967. The policy builds on the case of Alan Turing, a brilliant cryptographer who helped Britain and the Allied Powers decode messages during World War II. Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts and died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning. In 2009, the British government officially apologised for his treatment, before a posthumous pardon was granted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.