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Toussie’s Pardon *Was* Signed, Sealed, Delivered, and Probably Accepted

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3 Responses

  1. Jack says:


    If we fully accept the “deed” metaphor, the pardon was signed, sealed, “accepted” but not clearly delivered. If the President truthfully told Toussie that the President had signed a deed giving Toussie (gratis) Yellowstone National Park, that would not prevent the President from tearing up that deed, and thereafter correctly denying that Toussie ever gained any interest in the park. The argument for a physical delivery requirement would be that the pardoned person needs the piece of paper to get the benefit of the pardon–get out of jail, let the USDC know not to collect the fines, etc. Putting the beribboned parchment in the beneficiary’s hand is significant, because it is definitive evidence of pardon(compared to, say, an inmate’s claim that “I have been pardoned! I swear! Now let me out.”)

    However, while I think that something has to be done to make a formally executed pardon effective–Presidents are allowed to sign a stack of papers first, and ask questions later, to catch a typo only after signing, to sign the wrong piece of paper by mistake–more than enough was done here to show that the pardon was a definite decision, rather than preparation in advance of a possible course of action.


  2. Jon Steinsapir says:

    It seems like everyone is ignoring an obvious, and possibly extremely fruitful, source of authorities on this question — the state courts. As I understand it, most governors of American states have a similarly unchecked pardon/commutation power with respect to state crimes as the President has with federal crimes. I would guess that there are state cases addressing these issues. Sme governor I am sure has purported to revoke a pardon, and I would not be shocked if a convict then challenged the purported revocation.

  3. A.W. says:

    I’ll say this as one of the last people who support Bush. I mean besides the people supporting Bush’s policies in all but name now that they are Obama’s…

    You’re not being cynical enough. This isn’t about actually revoking the pardon, but cya because of the payments. which isn’t to say that the whole thing is corrupt, but just that I doubt they really care very much if it is successfully revoked or not.