Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pardon YOU...

The Vice President's Chief of Staff lied under oath. Period. He got sentenced to jail. Anyone else in the country who lied as he did would have gotten the same sentence. But the kicker? Today, the Vice President's boss, the President of the United States, decided to commute the sentence. What? Exactly. Yet another example of how corrupt this administration is and how above the law they still believe they are.

"In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing." - Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

“This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law. This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people’s faith in a government that puts the country’s progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years.” - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

"When it comes to the law, there should not be two sets of rules - one for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and another for the rest of America. Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this administration should be above the law." - Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

"Accountability has been in short supply in the Bush administration, and this commutation fits that pattern." - Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

"Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. President Bush has just sent exactly the wrong signal to the country and the world." - former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

"The Constitution gives President Bush the power to commute sentences, but history will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own vice president's chief of staff who was convicted of such a serious violation of law." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

"The president said he would hold accountable anyone involved in the Valerie Plame leak case. By his action today, the president shows his word is not to be believed." - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"It is time for the American people to be heard - I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law." - Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.

"By commuting Scooter Libby's sentence, the president continues to abdicate responsibility for the actions of his administration. The only ones paying the price for this administration's actions are the American people." - Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

"The arrogance of this administration's disdain for the law and its belief it operates with impunity are breathtaking. Will the president also commute the sentences of others who obstructed justice and lied to grand juries, or only those who act to protect President Bush and Vice President Cheney?" - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

"This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice." - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

"President Bush's 11th-hour commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence makes a mockery of the justice system and betrays the idea that all Americans are expected to be held accountable for their actions, even close friends of Vice President Cheney." - Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

"This decision sends the wrong message about the rule of law in the United States, just as the president is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. How can we hold the line against injustices in other countries when our own executive branch deliberately sets out to smear its critics, lies about it and then wriggles away without having to pay the price in prison?" - Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif.


Updated 14 hours ago

Josh Wilson (Washington, DC) wrote
at 7:18am
Actually, you're wrong. The sentence that Scooter Libby received was ridiculous. The judge sentenced him to MORE than the prosecutor had asked for. That's not justice. And He still owes $250000.

Scooter Libby has served this country for decades. There remains a very good chance that the verdict will be overturned in court, because jurors following his sentence said that Karl Rove is who they really wanted to see prosecuted, but Scooter was the only one on trial. That suggests impartiality among the jurors and with the judge. It wasn't a fair trial.
Stupid democrats can bitch and moan all they want, but don't forget the Bill Clinton pardoned (not just commuted the sentence, but a full pardon) of Marc Rich, the husband of one of his biggest financial contributors, and there was no question that he was guilty of MUCH bigger crimes than Libby was even accused of. I never heard Patrick Leahy or Chris Dodd protest when all of Clinton's financial contributors were pardoned.

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 10:31am
Actually, I think I am not. The President said he decided to commute the sentence only after the appeals process had been exhausted. So not only did he ignore the ruling of a jury and a judge, he also ignored the ruling of an appeals board. It is one thing to ignore the ruling of one court, but to ignore the ruling of two seperate judicial bodies after they both came to the same conclusion? Seriously?

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 10:32am
And as for the sentence, from the outset the President vowed that he would hold his staff accountable if it was found that any one of them had done something wrong. He preached that on an almost daily basis. Because of this, the judge wanted to make absolutely sure that his sentencing fell right in the middle of the mandantory guidelines that had been set, that way no one would be able to call his ruling excessive. He knew this was a highly scrutinized case and he wanted to be above reproach when it came time for him to be held accountable. But of course this President, who is dead set on circumventing the law as he has throughout his entire Presidency, decided to ignore the bedrock judicial ruling just because he could.

Josh Wilson (Washington, DC) wrote
at 10:39am
Did you likewise condemn Bill Clinton for pardoning Marc Rich, whose wife was one of his biggest donors? I can't remember a single Democrat bitching about that.

The sentence was obviously excessive, and was more than what the prosecutor asked for. How is that justice? The guy still owes $250,000. He was not pardoned. He should be, though.

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 10:42am
And as for President Clinton and Marc Rich, I will send you here, to read in the President's very own words why he stands by his decision... http://www.nytimes.com/200

Oh and by the way, FEC law states that individuals are only allowed to donate up to $2000.00 per election for any one Presidential candidate.

Josh Wilson (Washington, DC) wrote
at 10:54am
that's hard money. it doesn't count soft money (which was legal then) and it doesn't count the fact that as a fundraiser, she brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars through other contributors.

And if you accept those reasons for full pardons, but not Bush's for a COMMUTATION (which is NOT a pardon) -- the guy still owes $250,000. That's not a small fine for a lifetime government careerist.

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 11:00am
And just so you know... a condition of the Marc Rich pardon? He had to pay $100,000,000.00. That is a tiny bit more than Libby's fine. Oh and guess who was Marc's lawyer from 1985-2000, defending the whole time that Rich was in fact innocent?

Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Josh Wilson (Washington, DC) wrote
at 11:22am
Except Marc Rich is worth $1.5 BILLION. Scooter Libby has no such wealth.

By the way, do you know who Marc Rich's lawyer was? Scooter Libby.

Further, Marc Rich was pardoned. Libby's sentence was only commuted, and he's still on probation.

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 11:38am
I believe I just made the point that Marc Rich's lawyer was Libby. Did you miss that? That pretty much kills your argument, but since you continue to miss the forrest for the trees...

Today Tony Snow said for all to hear that the possibily that the President will pardon Libby is still open.

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 11:38am
The thing that is of most concern here is that this is the first time in history a President has commuted the sentence of a member of his staff before any time for the crime has been served. The President did not let Libby serve time, and then commute the sentence after 6 months. That is what typically happens in commutations... if the President felt the sentence too steep, allow the GUILTY man to serve some time, and then cut the sentence short. He did not do that. I guarantee you that if either of us lied under oath and obstructed justice (as Scooter Libby did, two courts said so), we would both sit in a jail cell for however many years the courts decided was applicable. Libby lied. Period. In this coutry, when you lie under oath, you go to jail. PERIOD. That is of course unless you have powerful friends, like, say, the President of the United States.

Travis Holliday (New York, NY) wrote
at 1:12pm on July 3rd, 2007
so we're all mad that the President commuted Libby's sentence? hmm.. sounds almost as fair as when President Clinton lied under oath and pretty much got off scott-free.
Message - Delete

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 5:33pm on July 3rd, 2007
perhaps you forgot that tiny little thing called... oh, whats it called... impiedment? oh, no, IMPEACHMENT! thats right, for the country delving into his personal life and investigating things that are in no way ANYONES business and then lying about it, yes, he got impeached.

Travis Holliday (New York, NY) wrote
at 5:55pm on July 3rd, 2007
he was never formally impeached you retard.

Travis Holliday (New York, NY) wrote
at 5:57pm on July 3rd, 2007
He was impeached by the United States House of Representatives, but was subsequently acquitted by the United States Senate and remained in office to complete his term.

Joshua Holcombe wrote
at 6:25pm on July 3rd, 2007
neither was andrew johnson, he was acquitted as well. and yet history now lists two u.s. presidents as being "impeached." so, i guess you can go talk to the world's historians who dont really make a clear distincition between the two.

and i am very impressed with the highbrow language you have chosen to use. elevating the public debate by using words like retard... you scholar you.

Travis Holliday (New York, NY) wrote
at 7:14pm on July 3rd, 2007
;) love to love you, joshy.

Bryant Courtney (Georgia State) wrote
at 5:45pm on July 4th, 2007
Josh, I'm utterly impressed by your direct, smart summary of this issue!! I have learned a few things reading through your post and the commentary that has followed.

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