In an op-ed published today in The Baltimore Sun, Professor Kimberly Wehle argues that President Donald Trump’s use of Article II pardon power in the case of former Sheriff Joseph Arpaio has serious implications for American democracy.
Also dangerous are repeated assertions in the media that the president’s pardon power is affirmatively absolute, Wehle says.
Not only are such assertions untrue, Wehle says in “Pardon power is not absolute” (Aug. 28, 2017), but such claims of unfettered presidential power also have “far-reaching, dire consequences for American democracy – for us, for our children, for the future of our nation.”
Writes Wehle: “The United States is not careening toward a constitutional crisis; we are already knee-deep in one. It is vital that the public understand how the separation of powers and constitutional interpretation actually work, because at the end of the day, the Constitution is simply a piece of paper that represents a social contract among U.S. citizens.
“It’s up to ‘we the people’ to adhere to and reinforce the structure of the Constitution. Otherwise, we have just a piece of scrap.”