Clemency, Alexander Hamilton said, “is an act of grace and humanity.” While President Obama has, at least so far, granted clemency only 22 times, other presidents, both Democrat and Republican, have been far more generous. President George W. Bush, for example, pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 200 people, and President Bill Clinton did the same for 459 people. President Jimmy Carter granted clemency 566 times during his one term in office, although that is far from the record, a distinction which belongs to President Franklin Roosevelt who granted clemency 3,687 times. The Christmas season, a traditional time for presidential forgiveness, is a good time to re-examine how well the clemency process is working.
Join us for a discussion with a distinguished panel of bipartisan experts who will explore whether and how the clemency process has deviated from its proper, traditional function. Our panelists will also consider how to make pardons, as Chief Justice John Marshall said, “an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.”
More About the Speakers
Julius Kreeger Professor Emeritus of Law and Criminology, University of Chicago
Former White House Counsel for President Barack Obama and Special Counsel for President Bill Clinton
The Honorable Robert "Bob" Ehrlich, Jr.
60th Governor of Maryland and Senior Counsel, King & Spalding LLP
Former U.S. Pardon Attorney; Member, NACDL Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status