It’s always a good idea to get out front and frame the debate. A presidential pardon for Scooter Libby is being framed as being opposed to the rule of law. But the law includes the pardon process. Powerline has the relevant quote from Alexander Hamilton (and other interesting thoughts on the subject).
Read the whole item, but meanwhile here’s Hamilton:
“The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel. As the sense of responsibility is always strongest, in proportion as it is undivided, it may be inferred that a single man would be most ready to attend to the force of those motives which might plead for a mitigation of the rigor of the law, and least apt to yield to considerations which were calculated to shelter a fit object of its vengeance. The reflection that the fate of a fellow-creature depended on his sole fiat, would naturally inspire scrupulousness and caution; the dread of being accused of weakness or connivance, would beget equal circumspection, though of a different kind.”
And, of course, as Fouad Ajami points out in today’s Wall Street Journal, this case was never about the niceties of the law:
“This case has been, from the start, about the Iraq war and its legitimacy. Judge Walton came to it late; before him were laid bare the technical and narrowly legalistic matters of it. But you possess a greater knowledge of this case, a keen sense of the man caught up in this storm, and of the great contest and tensions that swirl around the Iraq war. To Scooter’s detractors, and yours, it was the ‘sin’ of that devoted public servant that he believed in the nobility of this war, that he did not trim his sails, and that he didn’t duck when the war lost its luster.”