The President of the United States has unique powers that aren’t often talked about.
In addition to his power to veto bills before they become law, and executive orders that establish far-reaching policies, he is also able to grant pardons and commute sentences for convicted criminals.
Usually, we only hear about these pardons near the end of a President’s time in office, when it is his last chance to release people from prison. Often a president will do so to send a message about his opinion on an issue, or simply to show compassion to someone he feels has paid his price to society.
President Obama has used this power extensively over the course of his time in office. You may not have heard of the 1000+ commutations in the last eight years, largely because the media chooses not to report on the matter. But the people he’s pardoned should raise a few eyebrows.
From Zero Hedge:
Obama has so far granted 148 pardons since taking office in 2009 — fewer than his predecessors, who also served two terms, George W. Bush (189) and Bill Clinton (396).
But he has surpassed any other president in the number of commutations, 1,176.
A Rastafarian prophet, a former Taliban captive and thousands of minor drug traffickers have one thing in common: Their names have been submitted to President Barack Obama for clemency before he leaves office in two weeks. As AFP reports, some US presidents have used this regal power of leniency in a pointed way near the end of their term in office…
Even though the White House has dismissed a possible pardon for Snowden and Manning, their supporters are still hoping for a final magnanimous gesture from a president about to leave the constraints of his high office on January 20. But both cases present unique challenges: Snowden has yet to be sentenced and merely faces espionage charges in the US, while Manning has an appeal pending before military court.
While Snowden and Manning are high profile cases, others are lining up for pardons: including illegal immigrants, and of course Hillary Clinton.
The two big names floating around are Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, former intelligence and military agents who handed classified documents to the press. Their high-profile cases had dramatic impacts on our society and government. Both have been openly criticized and condemned by the federal government and the President himself.
It’s unlikely that either will receive a full pardon by Obama, as the window for him to do so draws rapidly closed. Considering both are in unique situations, the President just might sit on his hands.
But hey, maybe that Rastafarian prophet has a chance.
Source: Zero Hedge