With the mass incarceration of blacks, many serving harsh sentences, and a some even wrongfully convicted, one might think that President Obama would be dolling out pardons to make up for discrimination in the justice system. He’s not.
To the dismay of vegans and vegetarians everywhere, President Obama continued the tradition of pardoning one lucky turkey, but Obama didn’t offer any other pardons, making him stingier with pardons than any other president in modern American history.
President Obama has refused to use his power to pardon, which reverses an existing conviction, all this year.
Law professor Mark Olson says President Obama’s aversion to pardons is shameful:
The founding fathers did not intend for the pardon power to fall into such disuse. … Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 74, argued that “the criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel.”
Our federal system of criminal law has, of late, been “too sanguinary and cruel.” For example, thousands of federal prisoners still languish under long sentences doled out under the now-amended 100-to-1 ratio between powder and crack cocaine that was built into the federal statutes and sentencing guidelines. …
One would think that the first black president would be well aware of these sentencing discrepancies, and work to undo unfair sentences, but so far, this hasn’t been the case.
Hopefully, President Obama will view his trouncing of Mitt Romney as a mandate and begin to issue pardons in the way they were intended by the Founding Fathers. He still has time to do the right thing.