Could a president pardon himself?
Let's say there was (hypothetically) a president who did A Bad Thing. An Illegal Bad Thing. Could he pardon himself?
Dragonfly, let's say it was a Capital crime. And let's say the whole cabinet was in on it. Could the president pardon his whole cabinet, resign, and then the Vice-President (now president) pardon him?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
No one really knows the answer because it has never happened and been litigated. However, the majority view is that a president can pardon himself (assuming he does so prior to impeachment). Art. II Sec. 2 of the Constitution states, in part, that the president "shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." The purpose of this clause was to insure the separation of powers by preventing the courts from using the law as a legal blackmail against the president.
The argument that the president could murder someone and then pardon himself is rather a non-sequitur considering that the vice president (or anyone) could kill anyone for the president and then the president could pardon him or her.
Note: There is a minority view that the president cannot pardon himself.Source(s): Majority view: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20001208.html Minority view: http://www.princeton.edu/%7Etsclark/pardon.pdf
- 4 years ago
The answer is yes.
Article 2, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the President broad pardon power. There is nothing in the Constitution that states a President may not pardon himself.
The President shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
There are only two restrictions on the President s pardon power:
He can only pardon "offences against the United States," in other words federal crimes. He cannot pardon state/local crimes or civil lawsuits or international crimes. He cannot pardon in a "case of impeachment."
There is no restriction on a President pardoning himself. Richard Nixon considered pardoning himself in 1974, but he was already facing impeachment and a self-pardon would have guaranteed his conviction and removal. So he resigned and let Gerald Ford pardon him one month later. The Constitution gave Nixon the power to pardon himself - he simply chose not to use that power.
- WCLv 71 decade ago
If this could happen, the President is above the law. He is judge and jury rolled into one. Hypothetically, he could commit murder, and issue himself a get out of jail for free card with one stroke of his own pen. Why do you think that Rchard Nixon couldn't pardon himself?
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
Unless it was a Capital crime or felony a standing president can not be prosecuted. If the president does commit a felony than they must be impeached before they can be charged with the crime. In other words, by the time a president was convicted of the crime, he would no longer be president. In other words, no.
- SweetaskLv 61 decade ago
probably not. There would probably checks and balances in place so that he could not do that. Take for instance Nixon. He couldnt pardon himself. Gerald Ford had to.
- andy3191Lv 71 decade ago
I wouldn't see why he couldn't. But that wouldn't stop him from being impeached.
- dvatworkLv 71 decade ago