Discussions around Presidential Pardon by writers of the Constitution

May 2018
5
Silver Spring, MD
Does anyone know of a source that records the discussions of the delegates during drafting of the Constitution regards Article II Section II (1) " . . shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons. .?"


I find arguments that it is tied to the British idea of Divine Right of Kings and also Druker's "The President's Power to Pardon . . " from the William & Mary Law School Scholarship Repository, elaborates a trail of pardon power by the King from the 7th century.



Why did the delegates think that power should be given to the Executive?
 

Recusant

Ad Honorem
Sep 2009
2,624
Sector N after curfew
I think that the source you already mentioned is excellent, giving both a history of the executive power of pardon in British law as well as a description of the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Seeking out the sources cited in the footnotes of that paper (such as Hamilton's Federalist No. 74) would be a sensible next step. The Heritage Guide to the Constitution has an essay on the topic as well. It covers basically the same ground as the law review paper, but not in as much depth.
 

SirOrmondeWinter

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,556
I heard a story that Harry Truman pardoned 13 members of his own campaign staff that had been caught vote tampering, can anyone source that?
 

Recusant

Ad Honorem
Sep 2009
2,624
Sector N after curfew
I heard a story that Harry Truman pardoned 13 members of his own campaign staff that had been caught vote tampering, can anyone source that?
I've not encountered that particular "story." There are several web-pages devoted to describing controversial pardons issued by US presidents; none of them have Truman pardoning anybody for vote tampering, let alone members of his own staff. Whoever made that allegation appears to be a fabulist engaged in an attempt at scurrilous character assassination.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,479
Dispargum
It would have been more surprising if the founders had not given the power of pardon to the executive. Most other powers of the president are the same as the powers exercised by European kings including the king of Britain at the time - the power to appoint officials, the power of commander-in-chief, etc.


Considering all of the other checks and balances written into the Constitution, the power to pardon is just a check and balance of the executive over the judiciary.
 

Baltis

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,005
Texas
It would have been more surprising if the founders had not given the power of pardon to the executive. Most other powers of the president are the same as the powers exercised by European kings including the king of Britain at the time - the power to appoint officials, the power of commander-in-chief, etc.


Considering all of the other checks and balances written into the Constitution, the power to pardon is just a check and balance of the executive over the judiciary.
Yes, it would be very odd if the President did not have the pardon power. almost as old as the law itself is the ability to correct its mistakes and/or give mercy where that is appropriate for leaders to do.

Like all Constitutional powers, I suspect the Supreme Court is quite capable of finding the reasonable limitations when presented with a necessary case.