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Obama Grants Over 230 Pardons in One Day – A New Record!
President Obama is on the last Hawaiian vacation of his presidency, but he still has a busy “To Do” list of things that must be done before he steps out of the Oval Office for the last time on January 20, 2017 – supervising the packing for the family’s move to the nine-bedroom, $22,000 a month rental home in the chic Kalorama neighborhood of D.C., saying goodbye to staff and, of course, exercising his privilege to grant clemency to convicted felons.
Of course, all presidents possess the Constitutional authority to grant pardons and 42 of the 44 have done so – William Henry Harrison and James Garfield were not in office long enough to do much of anything at all, least of all issue pardons.
Like most of his predecessors, Obama has waited until the waning days of his presidency to show the clemency, because any negative publicity no longer has the power to cause them political damage.
What distinguishes President Obama in the use of his mighty pen in exercising his Constitutional right, is not only the sheer number of felons he is releasing from prison, but the type of crimes they were convicted of committing.
On Monday alone, Obama issued 78 pardons – which essentially removes any liabilities – such as the loss of the right to vote, of the felony conviction – is extended to felons who served their sentence and have are leading “productive and law-abiding post-conviction lives, including by contributing to the community in a meaningful way,” according to Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel advising President Obama.
He also commuted the sentences of another 153, reducing their sentences in some cases to time served, for a total of 231 acts of clemency in a single day – more than any president in history.
His actions bring the total number of those on the receiving end of his clemency to 1,324 – more than almost any previous president, with another month to go during which he has indicated he will continue to act.
By comparison, Obama’s exercise of his authority to pardon or commute sentences already exceeds those of the past 11 presidents – combined and are more than 50 times those of President George W. Bush.
The felons chosen to receive Obama’s clemency are largely those who were convicted for drug offenses as part of the sentencing reforms during the effort in 1990s to crack down on crime, spearheaded by the Clinton administration.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Hillary Clinton was often queried about her characterization of African-American males as “super-predators,” when she was speaking out in support of her husband’s anti-crime agenda.
Obama has said that he believes African-American males were sentenced unfairly, often to excessively long periods and for what he considers “minor” offenses, however many involved enormous amounts of drugs, as well as firearms.
The president’s philosophy has excluded many white offenders serving time for the possession and sale of hallucinogens like LSD, while extending clemency to minorities convicted of selling crack cocaine and methamphetamines.... read more
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