Friday, December 11, 2009

Department of (In)justice says no to pardon for Jack Johnson

Back in August I wrote about Congressional efforts to pardon former Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson of Galveston.

Yesterday the pardon attorney for the Department of Justice, Ronald Rodgers, informed Rep. Peter King (R-NY) that it was not the department's policy to grant posthumous pardon requests. According to Mr. Rodgers, the department would prefer to grant pardons to folks "who can truly benefit" from them.

President George W. Bush issued a posthumous pardon to Charlie Winters who was convicted of violating the Neutrality Act by selling decommissioned B-17 bombers to Israel in 1948.


Jeff Gamso said...

You know, the preference for using pardons to aid the living is lovely but:

1. It's not like Obama has a limited number he can use and once they're gone, it's over; he can pardon the dead with wild abandon and still could pardon every person alive who's ever been charged with a federal offense if he were so inclined.

2. So far, he's used his pardon power exclusively to the benefit of a turkey. Yes, the turkey got the benefit of not being anyone's Thanksgiving dinner and getting to lead a parade at Disneyland (or Disneyworld or EuroDisney or DelhiDisney or somewhere). But still. If he's just itching to help some actual living people with pardons, it's about time. He's in exalted company as among the Presidents who've served the longest time without issuing a single pardon to a human.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Thank you for your comment. I probably would've pardoned the turkey to because I'd rather have ham.