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Constitutional Cliffhangers$
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Brian C. Kalt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780300123517

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300123517.001.0001

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The Presidential Self-Pardon Controversy

The Presidential Self-Pardon Controversy

(p.39) 2 The Presidential Self-Pardon Controversy
Constitutional Cliffhangers

Brian C. Kalt

Yale University Press

This chapter examines dueling legal arguments that the courts would confront in a self-pardon case, and some practical considerations that would arise. It does not conclude with any suggestions for reform, because no realistic ones exist. A self-pardon would only happen in an extreme situation, but such situations are no less imaginable for being extreme. Shortly before President Nixon resigned, his lawyer advised him that he could pardon himself, and Nixon considered doing it. More recently, the legal travails of Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush have led some commentators, congressmen, and citizens to broach the subject. The political environment has never been quite right for a self-pardon, but the question never quite goes away, and political winds have a way of shifting quickly.

Keywords:   dueling legal arguments, self-pardon case, legal travails, Reagan, Bush, Clinton

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