Home > Uncategorized > RE: Huckabee misses the point entirely

RE: Huckabee misses the point entirely

I stand corrected: It looks like the pardon power isn’t solely or even mostly granted as a check on the other two branches, though one could argue it’s certainly an arrow the president or governor carries in his political quiver. Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist Paper no. 74 that the pardon power was necessary, though others argued against it on the grounds that it would be abused. Hamilton suggested that several important incentives to use the power judiciously exist:

As the sense of responsibility is always strongest, in proportion as it is undivided, it may be inferred that a single man would be most ready to attend to the force of those motives which might plead for a mitigation of the rigor of the law, and least apt to yield to considerations which were calculated to shelter a fit object of its vengeance. The reflection that the fate of a fellow-creature depended on his sole fiat, would naturally inspire scrupulousness and caution; the dread of being accused of weakness or connivance, would beget equal circumspection, though of a different kind. On the other hand, as men generally derive confidence from their numbers, they might often encourage each other in an act of obduracy, and might be less sensible to the apprehension of suspicion or censure for an injudicious or affected clemency. On these accounts, one man appears to be a more eligible dispenser of the mercy of government, than a body of men.

The corollary of this “undivided” responsibility is simple, it seems to me: this power depends on one man’s “sole fiat” such that — in this case — Huckabee and only Huckabee is to blame for any “injudicious … clemency.”

Huckabee granted more clemencies and pardons than all three previous governors combined. Did he do anything else for the state? That’s a lot of time spent unilaterally absolving criminals.

That said, we’re being hasty. Perhaps he had a good reason to commute Clemmons’ sentence. I hope he and his PR team come up with one soon, because the story of his ’12 campaign is being written in the meantime.

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