January 17, 2017

"The clemency process is run out of the Justice Department, where career prosecutors have little interest in reversing the work of their colleagues."

"It’s a recipe for intransigence, dysfunction and injustice on a mass scale. Mr. Obama understands the problem, even if he didn’t fix it. As he wrote in an article published in this month’s issue of The Harvard Law Review, the process operates like a lottery, making it hard to tell what distinguishes the few lucky applicants who get clemency from the many deserving ones who don’t."

So write the editors of the NYT in an editorial titled "Mr. Obama, Pick Up Your Pardon Pen." The headline is misleading. Yes, Obama does have a few days left, and he could issue a bunch of pardons. But the point is that the system is bad, Obama obviously knows it, he could have done something to restructure the process, and he did not.

The final sentence is extraordinary for the NYT: "Perhaps President-elect Donald Trump will learn from Mr. Obama’s failure to heed that wisdom."

1. The word "failure," attached to Obama?!

2. Hope expressed that Donald Trump will fix something.

3. Wisdom attributed to — you have to read the preceding sentence — George W. Bush.

35 comments:

madAsHell said...

The NYT grief moves from depression to acceptance.

I really thought it would take much longer.

rehajm said...

As he wrote in an article published in this month’s issue of The Harvard Law Review, the process operates like a lottery, making it hard to tell what distinguishes the few lucky applicants who get clemency from the many deserving ones who don’t.

Asking for a friend.

Larry J said...

The final sentence is extraordinary for the NYT: "Perhaps President-elect Donald Trump will learn from Mr. Obama’s failure to heed that wisdom."

1. The word "failure," attached to Obama?!


The words "wisdom" and "Obama" don't belong in the case sentence except in a negative sense.

richard mcenroe said...

"But the point is that the system is bad, Obama obviously knows it, he could have done something to restructure the process, and he did not." The Obama legacy.

khesanh0802 said...

It will be interesting if the MSM will finally admit some of Obama's weaknesses/failures once he is out of office. If Trump is successful in improving the economy and the U.S.' status/position in the world how will the NYT approach that? The WaPo will never change its attitude unless someone nukes their building.

Bay Area Guy said...

NYT should abolish its editorial page, stop giving any political advice, and re-dedicate itself to honest reporting.

John said...

The article is credited solely to Obama. Just as he had written it himself.

Does anyone believe he did?

Is it normal for hlr to publizh ghost written articles?

Ann?

John Henry

n.n said...

To change, perchance positive.

Big Mike said...

He's waiting to see whether he can get the same cash bribe that Marc Rich gave Holder to persuade Bill Clinton that Tich was just a poor European businessman being unfairly bounded by mean, cruel American law enforcement.

MikeR said...

Kind of a weird article. It judges presidents by the number of pardons. Just pardon everyone!

Ann Althouse said...

"Is it normal for hlr to publizh ghost written articles?"

I have no idea how many law professors use research assistants to draft articles that are published under the professors' names. It is not something openly talked about. I would never do it. I had a personal voice in my writing, but most legal writing is done in a generic, awful style. In fact, when I gave up law-review writing a few years ago, it was because I could no longer tolerate the student-editing demands to put things in that form. I have this blog as my writing outlet. I can't take the abuse. But I love to write.

It is well-known and openly talked about that judges have law clerks ghost-writing their opinions. I consider it an abuse of power. There isn't even shame about it anymore. And the opinions get longer and more elaborate. It's just atrocious.

traditionalguy said...

The writer is skirting around the issue that Obama has never done a lick of work for America other than give speeches about how great an ideal he holds us up against to reveal our failures.

Obama's only talent was, with MSM all the work doing the work, erecting a Potemkin Village fake front USA with a smiling Figurehead.

Now the MSM's work is no longer needed because we are about to have a real builder. One who builds by hiring and firing real workers to make our Village a real one that becomes Greater than it was before, ahead of schedule and under budget.

traditionalguy said...

The writer is skirting around the issue that Obama has never done a lick of work for America other than give speeches about how great an ideal he holds us up against to reveal our failures.

Obama's only talent was, with MSM all the work doing the work, erecting a Potemkin Village fake front USA with a smiling Figurehead.

Now the MSM's work is no longer needed because we are about to have a real builder. One who builds by hiring and firing real workers to make our Village a real one that becomes Greater than it was before, ahead of schedule and under budget.

Wilbur said...

As it happens, Wilbur worked for his Con Law professor (it was called "clerking" then) while in law school. Wilbur wrote more than one article/casenote published under the prof's name.

Never thought much about it. I was happy to get the experience.

Curious George said...

"Big Mike said...
He's waiting to see whether he can get the same cash bribe that Marc Rich gave Holder to persuade Bill Clinton that Tich was just a poor European businessman being unfairly bounded by mean, cruel American law enforcement."

Bill Clinton didn't need persuading.

Owen said...

Prof. Althouse: ever since you took the red pill, your blog posts have been full of exclamation points. Wonderful to see.

LarsPorsena said...

"Big Mike said...
He's waiting to see whether he can get the same cash bribe that Marc Rich gave Holder to persuade Bill Clinton that Tich was just a poor European businessman being unfairly bounded by mean, cruel American law enforcement."

Bill Clinton didn't need persuading.
-----------------------------------------------
Seed money for the Clinton Foundation.

David Begley said...

Obama worked more on his golf game than "fixing" the clemency process. Fact.

Ambrose said...

Why should anyone other than a rare miscarriage of justice get a pardon? We have due process; a beyond reasonable doubt standard and an appeals process.

Kevin said...

So the pivot from "Obama is awesome" to "Trump please fix this" has finally begun?

Now we can wait for the next pivot to "Trump has failed to fix this" in the coming months.

Rick said...

khesanh0802 said...
It will be interesting if the MSM will finally admit some of Obama's weaknesses/failures once he is out of office.


He won't be criticized as long as he's useful to the left. Only when they have a new champion advocating different policies will he lose immunity.

If Trump is successful in improving the economy and the U.S.' status/position in the world how will the NYT approach that?

They will claim circumstances are different without impact from any Republican and Obama would have done even better. This is commonly referred to as the Krugman Gambit.

Sydney said...

Our soon-to-be-ex President Obama is quite the scholar. Not only an article in Harvard Law Review, but one in the Journal of the American Medical Association, too! Will we ever be blessed with such a genius again?

MadisonMan said...

I have no idea how many law professors use research assistants to draft articles that are published under the professors' names

I don't think this would be tolerated in my field.

My most excellent major professor worked with 3 of his grad students (including me) on a paper of a very interesting case, and initially the last names were alphabetic, with major professor first by dint of naming. At some point the names were reshuffled so the grad student who did the most writing was made Lead, and major professor was last. He accepted this with the characteristic twinkle in his eye. A big regret I have is that I did not put my major prof's name on the paper that emerged from my thesis.

John said...

Madison Man,

My son, while a medical student and post-doc worked on several research projects that were published in medical journals. One, while he interned at Mayo, in a journal whose name I still can't pronounce.

In every case he was credited as a co- or lead author.

Obama not crediting anyone in this case reminds me of Crooked Hillary and her book "It takes a village" Most people talk about "my book" regardless of whether they wrote it or or had a ghost. I'm fine with that.

Crooked Hillary, who had almost no participation in the village book, was going around calling it "the book that I wrote". If nothing else it is clumsy language.

In her case it was just another lie. It pissed off the ghost writer enough that she threatened to make a stink about it and Crooked Hillary finally came clean. On this at least if nothing else.

At least on the JAMA article President Obama does credit his assistants. I suspect that they were the actual writers and should be co-authors but I guess this is better than nothing.

John Henry

Owen said...

Sydney @ 2:08: Thanks for the cite to JAMA and His Most Effulgent Genius's writing there. This appears to be a report on a case of irreversible and terminal hubris, which has completely consumed the patient, leaving only an arrogantly upthrust chin and a condescending tone of voice. Sad!

robother said...

Maybe Obama is negotiating the transfer of all remaining funds in the Clinton Global Initiative to the Obama Memorial Library and Golf Course Initiative in exchange for an HRC full pardon. Assuming that goes as planned, he will pick up the Marc Rich Pardon Pen.

Yancey Ward said...

Pardons and commutations should be reserved solely for obvious cases of injustice. I don't think the sitting president really has the time or talent to determine what those are, and the problem is made even worse by the fact that most/all of the supplicants' supporters have very powerful blinders on in even the best circumstances. I think the process is as good as it is likely to ever get.

mccullough said...

Doesn't seem like presidential pardons are a good substitute for sentencing reform.

James Pawlak said...

Having had some sound instruction in "the scientific method" AND 34-years of professional work in our Department Of Corrections I suggest a three-year "follow" to determine how many of those criminals have committed new crimes, or been "put down"by police or armed citizens. These "numbers" could compared to those pardons/commutations issued by the prior three Presidents.

madAsHell said...

Drudge is reporting that Obama commuted Chelsea's sentence.

Michael McClain said...

She/he/it deserves only a cigarette and a blindfold.

Zach said...

I have no idea how many law professors use research assistants to draft articles that are published under the professors' names. It is not something openly talked about.

I hate this. Do you remember when the publishing factory loosely affiliated with Doris Kearns Goodwin put out Team of Rivals? It was the most paint-by-numbers book I've ever read.

Zach said...

At some point the names were reshuffled so the grad student who did the most writing was made Lead, and major professor was last.

This is how they do it in my field, and it makes a lot of sense. The person who does the bulk of the work and produces the bulk of the content is first, the person who does the supervisory role and (usually) originates the research topic is last, and minor contributors fill in the gaps.

The one legitimate case I've run across for not listing a ghostwriter as a coauthor was in Andre Agassi's autobiography, Open. He actually put in a short chapter explaining how he chose his ghost writer and how they wrote the book -- but that J.R. Moehringer didn't want to put his name on another man's life.

The Bear said...

He better freaking not pardon Bergdahl.

BJM said...

1. The word "failure," attached to Obama?!

Whoa! Pigs are flying, in formation, over NYC.