President George W. Bush revoked a pardon yesterday, setting a dangerous new precedent for Presidential authority and setting the stage for future residents of the Oval Office who may wish to revoke the pardons of previous Presidents.
There's more detail from this CBS News story:
(CBS/ AP) President Bush took the very rare step Wednesday of revoking a pardon he had granted only a day before, after learning in news reports of political contributions to Republicans by the man's father and other information.
Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University and a close follower of presidential clemency decisions, said the White House decision strikes him as unprecedented, but he said it's not inconceivable that it had happened in the past.
"It's, at best, embarrassing. At worst, it's an extraordinary example of this White House's ability to bollox up one bit of presidential authority that he clearly has," Berman said.
Wow. This sets a whole new precedent, and provides the incoming Obama Administration with one very potent -- and very, very dangerous -- tool: the ability to revoke any Bush pardons based on new information. Like evidence of treason, sedition, war crimes, intentional corruption, coincidental murder, willful ignorance, dereliction of duty or wholesale negligence.
In short, just about everything that Bush might pardon his fellow Administration members for, opening the door for this nation to finally have a means to circumvent the use of pardons to enable dirty Presidents to get away with -- or help their cronies get away with -- crimes most heinous and foul. The potential for criminals who thought to skate free with a Presidential pardon has now been tarnished and sullied, and there is new hope for change and accountability as a result. It's also a step that should be taken lightly, if at all, lest it lead to a tug-of-war of back-and-forth Administrations slapping each other for foolish actions.
In the meantime, however, it appears that a degree of accountability may once again come to rest within the Oval Office. What a concept.
Merry Christmas, America. Happy Festivus, Merry Christhanukwanzdiwalmas and all that jazz.
This is an Open Thread.