Today, President Obama is expected to issue the White House’s standard hokey pardon of a Thanksgiving turkey, but nine months into office, Obama has yet to exercise his presidential pardon power, says Debra Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle. Political science Prof. P.S. Ruckman Jr. of Rock Valley College in Illinois says that, Obama, a former constitutional law professor, has taken longer to use the executive pardon and commutation power than all but four presidents – George Washington, John Adams, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Obama hasn’t pardoned a single ex-offender, even though about 1,200 people have asked for pardons because they have turned their lives around, expressed remorse for their crimes. and now want to wipe the criminal slate clean of long-past offenses for which they paid the penalty. Nor has Obama commuted the sentence of any of the 2,000 or so federal inmates seeking sentence reductions – many because of draconian federal mandatory minimum sentences. “We had certainly hoped that by now President Obama would have used the pardon power,” said Molly Gill of the sentencing-reform group Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “We are a little bit surprised and a little bit disappointed.”