General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

In America can a president veto a pardon from a previous president?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (17942points) 1 week ago

Can they do it?

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10 Answers

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Maybe if there was a crime on the president’s part, like a bribe, but otherwise nope. Pardons are final.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No. otherwise what’s the point of the pardon in the first place?

SavoirFaire's avatar

No. A pardon, once official, cannot be reversed. If a crime were to be committed in the process of securing the pardon (e.g., a bribe), that crime could be subject to a separate prosecution. But the original pardon would still hold.

Pardons that have not yet been fully processed, however, can still be revoked. Ulysses S. Grant and George W. Bush both revoked incomplete pardons during their presidencies.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t know about the next President being able to reverse a pardon, but I heard something about an investigation possibly going into Trump’s pardons. So I guess if they find proof that Trump pardons were bought then those can be reversed maybe by the Justice Department because the pardons would’ve been illegal.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Pandora Again, the pardons cannot be reversed. This was effectively decided by the US Supreme Court in Ex Parte Garland (1866). An individual can refuse a pardon according to United States v. Wilson (1833) and Burdick v. United States (1915), and pardons with conditions that “offend the Constitution” can be stripped of those conditions according to Schick v Reed (1974). But these exceptions all exist to protect the person who was pardoned, not to limit the power to pardon them in the first place.

If a pardon is completed, it is legally binding—full stop. It cannot be overturned under current law. The only remedy for an ill-gotten pardon is a new prosecution (or, in the case of a sitting president, impeachment and conviction). Perhaps that’s not the way it should be. But in the absence of an amendment to the US Constitution or a sudden shift in how the pardon power is interpreted by the US Supreme Court, that’s the way it is.

Pandora's avatar

@SavoirFaire Okay but if it stood and the pardon was for all crimes committed then wouldnt’ that also includes the crime of obtaining an illegal pardon?

zenvelo's avatar

@Pandora A blanket pardon doesn’t work. The only blanket pardon was Ford for Nixon, for crimes while President, and no one had the stomach for challenging that once Nixon was gone.

Pardons require detailed listing of specific charges and crimes that are being pardoned. When you pardon a bank robber for bank robbery, you don’t pardon possible charges of murder for running someone over while escaping capture unless you also list that act.

JLoon's avatar

@SavoirFaire – Absolute? Maybe, but maybe not.

All the precedents you cite are correct. But as we’ve all learned, we have someone in the White House whose words & actions become more unprecedented every day. That could apply to his power to pardon as well.

The issue of bribery in exchange for an executive pardon is an example. It’s a charge that up to now has never been made and proven against a president. But things change. The federal anti-bribery statute, 18 USC Sec. 201 makes it a crime for any public official to demand or receive anything of value in exchange for performing an official act, or not carrying out a public duty. The scope of the law is broad, with few exceptions.

How would this apply in the case of a presidential pardon given in exchange for false testimony by a witness, or paid for with a campaign contribution? We may find out soon. On Dec. 1 2020 Washington DC District Court Judge Beryl Howell unsealed an order granting the Justice Department permission to gather evidence in an investigation of “lobbying to secure a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence in exchange for a substantial campaign contibution.”

Time will tell…

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