Presidential Pardoning Power

Current Events, Law Journal Library
Shannon Sabo

Recently, the Law Librarian Blog posted this short piece on whether or not a president can pardon himself. According to the Yale Law Journal note by Brian Kalt titled Pardon Me?: The Constitutional Case Against Presidential Self-Pardons referenced in the post, the answer is no. If a researcher would like to dig a bit deeper into this complicated topic, HeinOnline has a new beta tool which provides users with the ability to quickly and easily retrieve similar articles.

HeinOnline’s “More Like This” tool looks at interesting words found in a journal article and locates other articles which have similar interesting words. The tool is located above the page image of any article within the Law Journal Library:

Interesting words returned include pardon, Nixon, Bush, self, pardons, and presidential. Users are able to change the boost factors, omit terms, or add new terms to change the scope of the results. In this example, let’s remove Nixon and Bush and increase the boost factor on pardons, self, and presidential:

Note that the third and fourth result in the screen capture changed as a result of the adjustments made to the interesting terms.

To further research the topic of presidential self-pardon, perform a general proximity search across all HeinOnline content to find other relevant materials. For example:

“presidential self pardon”~10 OR “presidential self pardons”~10

This search query returns nearly 60 results in the Law Journal Library and several results from the U .S. Congressional Documents database. Interestingly, the Oklahoma Law Review article titled The President as His Own Judge and Jury: A Legal Analysis of the Presidential Self-Pardon Power concludes that “The textual, historical, structural, and precedential arguments set forth in this article indicate that the President of the United States has the power to issue pardons to any individual, including himself, except to overturn an impeachment” but also states “for a President to pardon himself would, admittedly, be an act of unprecedented chutzpah, but the Constitution does not forbid it, containing nothing that circumscribes the ‘power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States.'”

A catalog search for president* AND pardon* reveals several related publications, including this CRS Report titled An Overview of the Presidential Pardoning Power from January of 2009.

While HeinOnline may not be able to answer this question conclusively, the incredible wealth of journal articles and congressional documents provide an excellent platform from which to research this topic.

For help searching and navigating in HeinOnline, contact the dedicated support team at (800) 277-6995, email us, or chat with us!

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