Constitutional Paradox

General View

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s the oath the presidents take.

One of the core features of the Constitution that they are swearing to uphold is that the federal government is composed of three independent and co-equal branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.

However, the Constitution also says the President, “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”

Legal Reasoning. The Scales of Justice
Legal Reasoning

Since the president has the power to nullify what the judicial rules, it paradoxically implies that logical arguments by the judicial branch can only stand with the President’s acquiescence. When the President decides to utilize the pardon power, the legal system is no longer an equal and independent branch of government.

The Constitution and the pardon can result in incompatible actions. A legitimate ruling by the independent court system can lead to a presidential pardon, invalidating the results of the court’s decision.

That the fraying of political society, over our nearly 250 year history, has not been worse, comes from presidents who have exercised restraint with their unfettered power to allow only court rulings they agree with the power of enforcement. It is not the Constitution which keeps things on track, but the good will and sense of Presidents.

Nullification of the legal chain of reasoning
Nullification of the legal chain of reasoning

This dangerous inconsistency in the Constitution, allowing Presidents to overpower the judicial branch, needs to be amended by removing Presidential pardons.

Current Case

Obviously, the recent pardon of ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio brings the wild card property of pardons into high relief. The executive branch has overthrown the ruling of the judiciary.

So what? You may wonder. Doesn’t every pardon undo a decision of the courts? Yes, every pardon does that. The difference in this case is that the court ruled that a government official not following the law should be punished. The pardon then erased the court’s ruling, infringing on the separation of powers.

Even if Trump doesn’t make the judicial knell before him, he has opened the pathway for future presidents to demand that.

Get out of jail free card with Hillary laughing
Get out of jail free card

In Google images there already is A Hillary Get of Jail card. How long until a Trump Get Out Of Jail card follows? Trump has handed one to Ex-Sheriff Arpiao, which sends two signals.

  • That Trump condones the racial profiling Joe Arpiao engaged in his official capacity.
  • That witnesses in the Russian investigations can receive Get Out of Jail free cards from Trump, if they keep quiet about what they know.

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