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April 13, 2018


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Deep State Special Legal Counsel

Seems simple to me: He's flipping the bird at the Judiciary.

He is an outsider. He is no better or different than a clueless defendant who wears a Budweiser frogs T-shirt to court for a DUI probation revocation hearing.

Anthony Gaughan

Thanks for your comment, Deep State Special Legal Counsel. Have a good weekend!


Its an obvious effort to send a message to all who he conspired with, that lying to investigators, perjury and obstruction of justice will be rewarded with a pardon. He's trying to shut up Cohen, Manafort, Flynn, Gates, and others. The converse of a mob boss whacking the first stool pigeon, to send a message.


Your thinly-veiled partisan attacks inspire such thoughtful comments, right Anthony? You must be so proud.

Thank you for your posts, and have a great weekend!


Libby is certainly not as deserving as Marc Rich which was such a noble and honorable pardon.

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

anymouae at 10:19,

I thought of that too. Agree, Marc Rich was not an "honorable" pardon. Wasn't some kid who took a park of gum from the White Hen at 14 and became a school teacher. However, even though that pardon was not "right it was not "wrong" either. Marc Rich was pardoned based on his conduct outside of the Judicial system. He was an ordinary criminal. Nearly all of Trumps pardons were for defendants who committed crimes, offenses or defied orders in front of a Judge. It's a direct message and threat of open defiance to the independence of the Judiciary. He hates judges.

Anthony Gaughan

Thank you for your comments, anon. For the record, I am a registered independent. In any case, thanks again and have a great weekend!

Anthony Gaughan

Thank you for your comments, Anon. I suspect that you are right about the message that the Libby pardon was intended to send. Have a great weekend.

Anthony Gaughan

Thank you for your comments, anymouse, and thank you for reminding me of Bill Clinton's Marc Rich pardon. I should have added that to my list of controversial presidential pardons. Have a great weekend.

Anthony Gaughan

Thank you for your comments, Deep State Special Legal Counsel. I'm concerned too that the Libby pardon is intended to send a message to current and potential defendants in the Mueller probe. Thanks again and have a great weekend.


What difference does party registration make? your posts speak volumes: topic selection, fact selection, spin selection. It's all obvious. Citing an irrelevant fact (party registration) cinches the conclusion.

Have a great weekend!

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

It will be a great weekend if we are not bombed back to the Stone Age by Russia, China, Iran, Mexico, and any and all "****HOLE" nations that Cadet Bone Spurs managed to alienate. Obama left him with no messes. All our GREAT and WONDERFUL leader needed to do was improve upon what Obama started and he would have been a second term president.

Have a Great Weekend!

Jon H

"a Supreme Court battle over the extent of the presidential pardon power is inevitable"

Who would take it to court, though? If the Democrats filed suit perhaps it would get tossed for lack of standing. After all, they wouldn't have been harmed and Trump wouldn't be in violation of a law Congress had passed.

(You can probably tell but I am not a lawyer. Please be gentle.)

Anthony Gaughan

That is a fantastic point, Jon. I agree with you. Standing issues probably pose an insurmountable barrier to most efforts to challenge presidential pardons, even when the presidential pardon allegedly obstructs justice.

However, I think there are still ways that the extent of the president's pardon power could end up in court.

For example, imagine that a president issues mass pardons to obstruct a criminal investigation into the president and the president's aides. The House then impeaches the president on grounds that the pardons obstructed justice. The Senate agrees and convicts the president by 2/3 vote.

The former president would then have "injury in fact" and thus standing to argue that his pardon power is unlimited and that the impeachment was itself an unconstitutional intrusion into the president's Article II powers. Of course, the Supreme Court would likely decline to hear the case under the political question doctrine, which it has used before in impeachment cases (most famously in a case involving a federal judge in the 1990s called Nixon v United States). But in such momentous circumstances, perhaps the Supreme Court would change its mind about the political question doctrine's applicability to impeachment cases and decide that it should exercise jurisdiction over the case.

A second scenario would involve the same facts as the presidential impeachment scenario, only this time imagine that federal prosecutors go ahead and indict the individuals who were the beneficiaries of the very pardons that led to the president's impeachment and removal. Federal prosecutors might argue that the pardons are now invalid, since Congress determined that the issuing of the pardons obstructed justice.

In that scenario, the beneficiaries of the pardons would (at least in my view) clearly have standing to bring suit because their "injury in fact" would be apparent. That in turn would put the presidential pardon power squarely before the federal courts. But I have to admit that even then it's possible that the federal courts would decide the case on other grounds, such as the Double Jeopardy clause.

In any event, the extreme nature of these scenarios underscores the fact that standing issues are going to make it very difficult for most challenges to the president’s pardon power to end up in Court.

So thanks for your great comment, Jon!

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