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Letters to the Editor, June 11

Power not absolute

In a tweet, the president has asserted, “I have the absolute power to PARDON myself.” Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states, “...and he shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in cases of Impeachment.” So, is the Constitution saying that the President has the power to pardon himself?

A major concern of the 55 men who drafted the Constitution in 1787 was to create a government with sufficient checks and balances to prevent any one from accumulating enough power to become a king/despot/dictator the way King George III had been. If a president were to have the power to pardon himself, he would have absolute power to commit any act with impunity and simply pardon himself. Even in the case of impeachment, he could murder the accusers and pardon himself.

Our forefathers did not declare independence from Great Britain, fight a bloody war, accumulate massive debt and create the very first system of government based on checks and balances to throw it all away by giving the president the power to pardon himself. President Trump does not have absolute power, and he is not above the law.

David Lane


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