Thursday, February 5, 2015

Obama's Clemency Record Is Still One of the Worst Ever

President Obama's remarkably stingy clemency record improved slightly last December, when he shortened eight sentences, enough to push his commutation total above those of several predecessors, including both Bushes and Ronald Reagan. But as USA Today notes, Obama's total for pardons—which clear people's records, typically after they have completed their sentences—is still worse than any modern president's. In fact, to find a president who issued fewer pardons than the 64 Obama has granted so far, you have to go all the way back to James Garfield, who was shot four months after taking office in 1881 and died 11 weeks later from a combination of his wound and unsanitary doctoring. Among two-term presidents, Obama has issued fewer pardons than anyone but George Washington, who surely did not receive nearly as many applications.


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