Having tried and failed to introduce his "impeach Trump" bill, Rep. Al Green won't give up that easy as The Hill reports he plans to introduce a bill that would prevent presidents from being able to pardon themselves.
Green's bill follows increasing reports from the 'fake news media' that Trump is considering using his power to pardon on himself or other members of his administration for any offenses related to the Russia probe, though Trump attorney Jay Sekulow has insisted that officials are not even discussing Trump’s ability to issue pardons.
“We’re not researching the issue because the issue of pardons is not on the table. There’s nothing to pardon from,” Sekulow said Sunday.
Nevertheless, Rep. Green said he believes that giving the president the power to self-pardon would make the leader “above the law,” making the United States, he believes, “a country of laws for all but the president.”
“To allow such would not only place the President above the law, it would make the President his own final judge, jury, and prosecutor,” Green said in a statement. “The President would in fact become the law.”
Green said he plans to introduce the bill because of “love for my country,” adding that the phrase “no one is above the law” is “the heart of American Jurisprudence,” according to his statement.
Before we get to this bill thought, the question is - Can he pardon himself? (via The Hill)
Most tantalizing, could Trump pardon himself? Few presidents have actually considered a self-pardon, and none has actually tried. If Trump is the first to go through with it, he should know that legal scholars are divided on the question.
On one hand, it is clear that the sparse constitutional language on clemency says nothing about a self-pardon, and the courts have never directly confronted the question. To legal scholars Robert Nida and Rebecca L. Spiro, writing in 1999, the president should be able to self-pardon, largely because the Constitution does not say he is forbidden from doing so.
On the other hand, law professor Brian C. Kalt argued in 1996 that a self-pardon is not allowed by the Constitution. He writes, “a presidential self-pardon … would only be plunder to take home after a career-ending disgrace ...” and that the president’s self-pardon would continue to benefit him even after leaving office, and even if he is impeached. Moreover, a self-pardon would be inconsistent with our separation of powers system.
Both sides offer compelling arguments. However, I lean in the direction of Nida and Spiro. The courts have usually given the president a lot of leeway on clemency questions. It’s likely that a self-pardon would end up in front of the Supreme Court. From there, they could find a self-pardon appropriate or not. In fact, it’s entirely possible that they could rule that a self-pardon is permissible, and point out that the remedy for abuse of clemency is what the framers of the Constitution intended for any abuse of power: impeachment.
Full Statement from Rep. Green:
“At the heart of American Jurisprudence is the fundamental premise that “No one is above the law.” This includes the President of the United States of America.
“The presidential power to pardon is the power to forgive for the smallest federal offense to the most egregious federal crime. If this is true, no President should be empowered to self-pardon (forgive himself or herself).
“To allow presidential self-pardons would allow a President guilty of the federal crime of treason against the United States of America to forgive/pardon himself. To allow such would not only place the President above the law, it would make the President his own final judge, jury, and prosecutor. The President would in fact become the law. The United States of America would become a country of laws for all but the President.
“To permit the President to self-pardon would place the President above the law and beyond justice. Love for my country compels me to file legislation to prevent the President from being above the law and beyond justice.”
Of course this will go nowehere but will allow Green a few more minutes in front of the cameras. We do find it ironic how focused the congressman is on this topic when his party just announced a need to refocus away from Trump, away from Russia, and on what policies can do to actually help Americans?