It is his call

Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 7:43 | Posted in Legal, USA | Leave a comment
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When you are found guilty of a crime by a court of law you take whatever penalty the court will hand you. Unless, of course, you are a friend of the president. I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was working for Vice President Dick Cheney when he did what he was sentenced to jail for, so it is safe to assume that he is somewhat of a friend of President Bush.

Now, the president has commuted the jail sentence. He did that without consulting the US Justice Department, as the Washington Post reports. Neither did the president seek nor accept any advise from his friends:

“We were all told to stay away from it,” said an old Bush friend from Texas who is close to Libby and would not speak for attribution. “When we called over there, they said the president is well aware of the situation, so don’t raise it. None of us lobbied him because they told us not to.”

The Post quotes Bush spokesman Tony Fratto as saying:

“Executive clemency is the president’s exclusive power under the Constitution, and there are precedents for exercising that power without going through the pardon attorney process,”

Absolutely right. It is the president’s constitutional privilege to go about a clemency as he sees fit. George W. Bush did nothing wrong, legally speaking. No question about it. It was his call to make.

The big question is, of course, if it was morally right to let Libby off the hook. It certainly does not look so in my eyes. Friends of the president do not deserve to be treated differently from other people breaking the law just because they are his friends. While the president’s decision was all legal, it contradicts against this blog’s understanding of justice.

The Washington Post also quotes anonymously a “senior administration official”:

This source, who demanded anonymity to talk freely about the president’s thinking, said there is “comfort” at the White House that the decision will not hurt him politically despite the Democratic outcry.

Obviously not. The man is a lame duck anyway. He can do what ever he wants to. He is not going to loose votes for whatever he does.

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