Friday, December 26, 2008

The absence of a "no take-backs" clause in Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution

The Constitution puts almost no restrictions on the presidential power of pardon. It's pretty much absolute. It's not subject to review, and as it turns out it's not even subject to a "no take-backs" rule--unfortunately for this guy:

President Bush changed his mind on Christmas Eve, pulling back a pardon he had extended a day earlier to a Brooklyn developer at the center of a Long Island real estate fraud case and adding a bizarre twist to the episode.

The developer, Isaac R. Toussie, who was listed Tuesday as one of the beneficiaries of the president’s constitutional power to wipe away a criminal record, is not being pardoned “based on information that has subsequently come to light,” the White House said late Wednesday afternoon.

The terse White House statement did not elaborate, but officials familiar with the case said that presidential aides — and perhaps President Bush himself — were concerned about appearances, because Mr. Toussie’s father, Robert, donated $28,500 to the Republican National Committee last April, for what apparently was his first political contribution. He also donated $2,300 to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain.

I suppose this means the pardon power is subject to review after all--by the White House political spin-masters, though, not by the courts.

And if you think Toussie's steamed now that his pardon got yanked back out from under him in less than 24 hours (and you know he's got to be), how pissed do you think he's going to be as he watches the parade of Bush administration cronies, operatives, and button men who do get pardons in the next few days?

(And sticking it to him on Christmas Eve was a nice touch by Bush. A class act all the way to the end.)

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