Letter: Questionable pardon
No one should be surprised by Trump’s pardon of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Next, I’m sure he will pardon James Shield and Dylann Roof. It has been reported Trump has inquired whether he can pardon himself regarding the Russia investigation.
The pardon is not only morally wrong, but I wonder if it is legal. A federal court had convicted Arpaio of defying a court order to cease and desist the use of racial profiling in immigration cases, but had not sentenced him. The pardon is an infringement by the executive branch on the powers of the judiciary by interceding before they had completed their task and a violation of the rule of law, a principle Trump often uses to justify the immigration crackdown.
Even Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly warned Trump such an action would be “inappropriate.” If I were the federal court, I would appeal the pardon.
Fred Malo Jr.
Editor’s note: The president’s power to pardon are broad, under Article II, Section 2, Clause I of the Constitution: “… he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” Certain questions about the limits of the authority have never been adjudicated.