Impeach Bush To Stop Pardons

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Background

http://democrats.com/bush-pardons

Petition

Dear Representative and Senators,

President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney stand accused of 39 grave and impeachable offenses, including war crimes, torture, warrantless wiretapping, and outing a covert CIA operative.

Most of these offenses are felonies for which Bush and Cheney can be criminally prosecuted after they leave office. But prosecutions will be impossible if Bush issues blanket pre-emptive pardons for Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, other senior officials, and even himself.

Can Bush do this? Absolutely. Gerald Ford set the precedent in 1974 when he gave Richard Nixon a blanket pre-emptive pardon for any crime he "may have committed."

Presidential pardon power is nearly unlimited under the Constitution. We support efforts in Congress to outlaw pre-emptive or self-pardons, but even if a bill passes Congress before Bush leave office, Bush will certainly veto it. So how can we stop Bush's pardons?

The Founding Fathers clearly anticipated a corrupt President might pardon his co-conspirators, and specified impeachment as the remedy.

George Mason, the father of the Bill of Rights, argued at the Constitutional Convention that the President might use his pardoning power to "pardon crimes which were advised by himself" or, before indictment or conviction, "to stop inquiry and prevent detection."

James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution, added that "if the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter [pardon] him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty."

As your constituent, I urge you to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney before they issue pardons. But if that fails, I urge you to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney afterwards for issuing pardons that constitute obstruction of justice and abuse of power.

A post-inaugural impeachment would prohibit those impeached from ever holding federal office, either elected or appointed. Arguably, impeachment would also nullify pre-impeachment pardons and permit prosecutions. Finally, impeachment would tell future Presidents they cannot abuse their pardon power to put themselves above the law.

In 1776, Thomas Paine famously wrote, "in America, the law is King." Congress must not allow a President to commit crimes with impunity, or it makes the President a King - or worse, a Dictator.

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