The anti-corruption group Free Speech for the People filed a motion with Judge Amy Berman Jackson opposing the pardon of President Donald Trump’s pal, Roger Stone.
According to the organization’s president, John Bonifaz, there are “limits to the pardon power” that the president holds, “including when the power is abused for self-dealing purposes.” He said that Stone’s “commutation violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution,” and thus, should be declared void.
“When the Framers added the phrase ‘faithful execution’ to the Constitution, for the president to ‘take Care that the laws be faithfully executed’ and for the presidential oath, they were drawing on a long English tradition of this phrase signifying limited powers on behalf of the public interest, and rejecting the unlimited prerogatives of kings,” the group cited Professor Jed Shugerman, at Fordham Law School. “These republican limits are similar to fiduciary duties against self-dealing. Thus, pardons and commutations that are in self-interest and against the public interest are unfaithful execution of the office and are constitutionally invalid.”
The group’s legal director, Ron Fein, explained that the Stone case isn’t over.
“The Supreme Court has acknowledged that the pardon power is not unlimited, and the Constitution requires the President to exercise that power loyally and carefully in the public interest rather than in his own self-interest,” he said. “The judge should hear what Professors Leib and Shugerman have to say before taking any further action with respect to Roger Stone.”
BREAKING: We just filed this motion before Judge Jackson. There are limits to the pardon power, incl when the power is abused for self-dealing purposes. The Stone commutation violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution + should be declared invalid. @FSFP @jedshug @ronfein https://t.co/ae8z8Qoz5l
— John Bonifaz (@JohnBonifaz) July 16, 2020