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Obama's Pardons

bballcrook21
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8/6/2016 8:52:45 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
The act of releasing a prisoner from jail or changing their sentence is known as a commutation (or remission) of sentence. And President Obama has commuted the sentences of more prisoners than the last 9 presidents combined.

What the president has done is to effectively turn the pardoning power of the executive into a systematic clemency program. Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws. Many are serving life sentences for crimes like growth of marijuana plants with intention to distribute.

There are currently almost 13,000 petitions for pardon or clemency pending, the vast majority for jailed drug offenders. This is the most pending petitions for any time in American history.

NOTE: You may occasionally hear President Obama being criticized for pardoning fewer people than almost any president in history. While technically true, the numbers are misleading. That's because a "pardon" is not what most people assume it to be. A pardon does not release anyone from prison.

A pardon is an executive order granting clemency for a past conviction, the sentence of which has already been completed. In fact, a criminal must have already completed their sentence plus a five year waiting period to even be eligible to apply for a pardon. A pardon does, however restore any voting or firearm rights lost due to a past criminal conviction.

Sources:
https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.buzzfeed.com...

http://www.infoplease.com...
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Friedman

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. -Friedman

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Friedman

Society will never be free until the last Democrat is strangled with the entrails of the last Communist.
brontoraptor
Posts: 11,685
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8/7/2016 4:24:48 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/6/2016 8:52:45 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
The act of releasing a prisoner from jail or changing their sentence is known as a commutation (or remission) of sentence. And President Obama has commuted the sentences of more prisoners than the last 9 presidents combined.

What the president has done is to effectively turn the pardoning power of the executive into a systematic clemency program. Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws. Many are serving life sentences for crimes like growth of marijuana plants with intention to distribute.

There are currently almost 13,000 petitions for pardon or clemency pending, the vast majority for jailed drug offenders. This is the most pending petitions for any time in American history.

NOTE: You may occasionally hear President Obama being criticized for pardoning fewer people than almost any president in history. While technically true, the numbers are misleading. That's because a "pardon" is not what most people assume it to be. A pardon does not release anyone from prison.

A pardon is an executive order granting clemency for a past conviction, the sentence of which has already been completed. In fact, a criminal must have already completed their sentence plus a five year waiting period to even be eligible to apply for a pardon. A pardon does, however restore any voting or firearm rights lost due to a past criminal conviction.

Sources:
https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.buzzfeed.com...

http://www.infoplease.com...

The liberals wouldn't care if he sold his soul to the devil, raped five young boys, and bombed Canada unprovoked. They'd still have their mouth around his dong.
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BrendanD19
Posts: 2,050
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8/7/2016 7:03:29 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/6/2016 8:52:45 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
The act of releasing a prisoner from jail or changing their sentence is known as a commutation (or remission) of sentence. And President Obama has commuted the sentences of more prisoners than the last 9 presidents combined.

What the president has done is to effectively turn the pardoning power of the executive into a systematic clemency program. Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws. Many are serving life sentences for crimes like growth of marijuana plants with intention to distribute.

There are currently almost 13,000 petitions for pardon or clemency pending, the vast majority for jailed drug offenders. This is the most pending petitions for any time in American history.

NOTE: You may occasionally hear President Obama being criticized for pardoning fewer people than almost any president in history. While technically true, the numbers are misleading. That's because a "pardon" is not what most people assume it to be. A pardon does not release anyone from prison.

A pardon is an executive order granting clemency for a past conviction, the sentence of which has already been completed. In fact, a criminal must have already completed their sentence plus a five year waiting period to even be eligible to apply for a pardon. A pardon does, however restore any voting or firearm rights lost due to a past criminal conviction.

Sources:
https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.buzzfeed.com...

http://www.infoplease.com...

To be fair, the OVERWHELMING majority of these pardons have been for non-violent drug offenders.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,335
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8/7/2016 8:50:43 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 7:03:29 AM, BrendanD19 wrote:
At 8/6/2016 8:52:45 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
The act of releasing a prisoner from jail or changing their sentence is known as a commutation (or remission) of sentence. And President Obama has commuted the sentences of more prisoners than the last 9 presidents combined.

What the president has done is to effectively turn the pardoning power of the executive into a systematic clemency program. Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws. Many are serving life sentences for crimes like growth of marijuana plants with intention to distribute.

There are currently almost 13,000 petitions for pardon or clemency pending, the vast majority for jailed drug offenders. This is the most pending petitions for any time in American history.

NOTE: You may occasionally hear President Obama being criticized for pardoning fewer people than almost any president in history. While technically true, the numbers are misleading. That's because a "pardon" is not what most people assume it to be. A pardon does not release anyone from prison.

A pardon is an executive order granting clemency for a past conviction, the sentence of which has already been completed. In fact, a criminal must have already completed their sentence plus a five year waiting period to even be eligible to apply for a pardon. A pardon does, however restore any voting or firearm rights lost due to a past criminal conviction.

Sources:
https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.buzzfeed.com...

http://www.infoplease.com...

To be fair, the OVERWHELMING majority of these pardons have been for non-violent drug offenders.

This is a good thing. The war on drugs is a disaster.
bballcrook21
Posts: 4,468
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8/7/2016 4:15:24 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 7:03:29 AM, BrendanD19 wrote:
At 8/6/2016 8:52:45 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
The act of releasing a prisoner from jail or changing their sentence is known as a commutation (or remission) of sentence. And President Obama has commuted the sentences of more prisoners than the last 9 presidents combined.

What the president has done is to effectively turn the pardoning power of the executive into a systematic clemency program. Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws. Many are serving life sentences for crimes like growth of marijuana plants with intention to distribute.

There are currently almost 13,000 petitions for pardon or clemency pending, the vast majority for jailed drug offenders. This is the most pending petitions for any time in American history.

NOTE: You may occasionally hear President Obama being criticized for pardoning fewer people than almost any president in history. While technically true, the numbers are misleading. That's because a "pardon" is not what most people assume it to be. A pardon does not release anyone from prison.

A pardon is an executive order granting clemency for a past conviction, the sentence of which has already been completed. In fact, a criminal must have already completed their sentence plus a five year waiting period to even be eligible to apply for a pardon. A pardon does, however restore any voting or firearm rights lost due to a past criminal conviction.

Sources:
https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.buzzfeed.com...

http://www.infoplease.com...

To be fair, the OVERWHELMING majority of these pardons have been for non-violent drug offenders.

And what are the chances that drug offenders might turn violent once they leave a prison in which the only way to stay on the top is to join others in violent behavior?
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Friedman

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. -Friedman

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Friedman

Society will never be free until the last Democrat is strangled with the entrails of the last Communist.
BrendanD19
Posts: 2,050
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8/8/2016 4:34:23 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 4:15:24 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
At 8/7/2016 7:03:29 AM, BrendanD19 wrote:
At 8/6/2016 8:52:45 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
The act of releasing a prisoner from jail or changing their sentence is known as a commutation (or remission) of sentence. And President Obama has commuted the sentences of more prisoners than the last 9 presidents combined.

What the president has done is to effectively turn the pardoning power of the executive into a systematic clemency program. Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws. Many are serving life sentences for crimes like growth of marijuana plants with intention to distribute.

There are currently almost 13,000 petitions for pardon or clemency pending, the vast majority for jailed drug offenders. This is the most pending petitions for any time in American history.

NOTE: You may occasionally hear President Obama being criticized for pardoning fewer people than almost any president in history. While technically true, the numbers are misleading. That's because a "pardon" is not what most people assume it to be. A pardon does not release anyone from prison.

A pardon is an executive order granting clemency for a past conviction, the sentence of which has already been completed. In fact, a criminal must have already completed their sentence plus a five year waiting period to even be eligible to apply for a pardon. A pardon does, however restore any voting or firearm rights lost due to a past criminal conviction.

Sources:
https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.justice.gov...

https://www.buzzfeed.com...

http://www.infoplease.com...

To be fair, the OVERWHELMING majority of these pardons have been for non-violent drug offenders.

And what are the chances that drug offenders might turn violent once they leave a prison in which the only way to stay on the top is to join others in violent behavior?

Not very high. If they do return it will most likely be on drug charges. And they would not be eligible for a pardon if they were violent.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

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bballcrook21
Posts: 4,468
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8/8/2016 5:21:05 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Correct
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Friedman

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. -Friedman

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Friedman

Society will never be free until the last Democrat is strangled with the entrails of the last Communist.
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,106
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8/8/2016 5:33:28 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Drug offenses is an area of abject failure in the judiciary, but partly because of the negligence of the legislature and to a lesser extent executive power.
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

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bsh1
Posts: 27,504
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8/8/2016 5:33:47 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/6/2016 8:52:45 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
What the president has done is to effectively turn the pardoning power of the executive into a systematic clemency program. Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws. Many are serving life sentences for crimes like growth of marijuana plants with intention to distribute.

Good.
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bsh1
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8/8/2016 5:35:50 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Not really. Pardoning is part of the system of checks and balances--it is a way for the President to counterbalance the power of the Judiciary...and frankly, the Judiciary is one of the hardest branches to counterbalance.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

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Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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8/9/2016 4:49:42 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/8/2016 5:35:50 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Not really. Pardoning is part of the system of checks and balances--it is a way for the President to counterbalance the power of the Judiciary...and frankly, the Judiciary is one of the hardest branches to counterbalance.

I can see how it's part of the system of checks and balances, but my point was that Obama was abusing this power. If the court has reached a correct decision according to the statute book (which I assume is the case for drugs), surely the executive shouldn't be in a position to challenge it, even if the laws change afterwards. After all, the change in laws took place *after* the sentencing, and therefore shouldn't be applied to the criminals who committed the crime earlier.

If they feel the sentence was too heavy, or if they are behaving well and can thus reintegrate into society, this can be done within the judicial and correctional systems, through appeals and parole respectively. These don't require executive power meddling in the judiciary.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
bsh1
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8/9/2016 5:00:38 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/9/2016 4:49:42 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:35:50 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Not really. Pardoning is part of the system of checks and balances--it is a way for the President to counterbalance the power of the Judiciary...and frankly, the Judiciary is one of the hardest branches to counterbalance.

I can see how it's part of the system of checks and balances, but my point was that Obama was abusing this power. If the court has reached a correct decision according to the statute book (which I assume is the case for drugs), surely the executive shouldn't be in a position to challenge it, even if the laws change afterwards. After all, the change in laws took place *after* the sentencing, and therefore shouldn't be applied to the criminals who committed the crime earlier.

Obama isn't changing the law. A commutation only impacts the sentence, and a pardon does not erase a criminal record.

I also don't see how Obama is abusing this authority when there are real issues of justice and practicality to consider. Our prison system is extremely overcrowded--we don't have the space or the resources to sustain the high rates of incarceration in this country. I would argue that Obama should be pardoning more aggressively to help alleviate these strains on the system. Non-violent offenders who are often sentenced under absurdly harsh criminal drug statutes don't truly deserve the punishments they receive because their punishments defy proportionality, and so I also see Obama's actions as ethically justified. Perhaps future pardons may also reflect the interesting legal quirks of drug laws in the US: there are some people convicted under federal prohibitions of pot, for example, who lived in states where pot was legalized and even government subsidized (as in my state, where medical pot is strictly controlled by the authorities). There is often little legal clarity, and some evidence of arbitrary prosecution (i.e. some people not prosecuted, but others in similar positions are prosecuted under the same law).

I am not exactly sure what you even object to here? Do you object to Obama using this power at all? If not, then where is your brightline between when use becomes abuse? It's not like Obama is sending deadly villains ought into the streets to rape and pillage...

If they feel the sentence was too heavy, or if they are behaving well and can thus reintegrate into society, this can be done within the judicial and correctional systems, through appeals and parole respectively.

This is often an ineffective method of redress, and ignores the very point of the check and balance nature of the pardons. The whole idea is to deny the judiciary sole control over who is convicted and sentenced, and for how long someone is sentenced. Checks and balances are designed to encourage every branch to meddle in every other branch. Meddling is a good thing (to an extent, ofc).

Moreover, judicial redress cannot grant the kind of relief a pardon grants. Pardons, for instance, restore voting rights, whereas parole does not.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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1harderthanyouthink
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8/9/2016 5:46:16 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/9/2016 4:49:42 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:35:50 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Not really. Pardoning is part of the system of checks and balances--it is a way for the President to counterbalance the power of the Judiciary...and frankly, the Judiciary is one of the hardest branches to counterbalance.

I can see how it's part of the system of checks and balances, but my point was that Obama was abusing this power. If the court has reached a correct decision according to the statute book (which I assume is the case for drugs), surely the executive shouldn't be in a position to challenge it, even if the laws change afterwards. After all, the change in laws took place *after* the sentencing, and therefore shouldn't be applied to the criminals who committed the crime earlier.

If they feel the sentence was too heavy, or if they are behaving well and can thus reintegrate into society, this can be done within the judicial and correctional systems, through appeals and parole respectively. These don't require executive power meddling in the judiciary.

The drug schedules are a complete joke and many schedule I drugs have absolutely no business being there given any scientific standard. These schedules prevent appeals and parole from being effective in combination with three strikes laws. For example, third strike drug offenses in California lead to life in prison without parole for the first 25 years.
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

DDO Risk King
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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8/10/2016 5:23:18 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/9/2016 5:00:38 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/9/2016 4:49:42 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:35:50 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Not really. Pardoning is part of the system of checks and balances--it is a way for the President to counterbalance the power of the Judiciary...and frankly, the Judiciary is one of the hardest branches to counterbalance.

I can see how it's part of the system of checks and balances, but my point was that Obama was abusing this power. If the court has reached a correct decision according to the statute book (which I assume is the case for drugs), surely the executive shouldn't be in a position to challenge it, even if the laws change afterwards. After all, the change in laws took place *after* the sentencing, and therefore shouldn't be applied to the criminals who committed the crime earlier.

Obama isn't changing the law. A commutation only impacts the sentence, and a pardon does not erase a criminal record.
I was referring to this sentence from the OP: Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws.
I also don't see how Obama is abusing this authority when there are real issues of justice and practicality to consider. Our prison system is extremely overcrowded--we don't have the space or the resources to sustain the high rates of incarceration in this country. I would argue that Obama should be pardoning more aggressively to help alleviate these strains on the system. Non-violent offenders who are often sentenced under absurdly harsh criminal drug statutes don't truly deserve the punishments they receive because their punishments defy proportionality, and so I also see Obama's actions as ethically justified.
I'm not saying that Obama's actions had no good motives. His pardons could well serve a pragmatic purpose, or they could be ethically justified. (Although I'd disagree with the latter - there is no objective standard for proportionality AFAIK, and since drugs can ruin lives, families and communities, a life sentence for repeat drug vendors seems prima facie reasonable.) He may be well-intentioned in pardoning drug traffickers, but so is Duterte in killing them - that doesn't make the actions right. If changes need to be made in the laws, it's done through the legislature, not through the head of state making pardons at his discretion.
Perhaps future pardons may also reflect the interesting legal quirks of drug laws in the US: there are some people convicted under federal prohibitions of pot, for example, who lived in states where pot was legalized and even government subsidized (as in my state, where medical pot is strictly controlled by the authorities). There is often little legal clarity, and some evidence of arbitrary prosecution (i.e. some people not prosecuted, but others in similar positions are prosecuted under the same law).
In case of arbitrary prosecution, that is a problem to be resolved by law enforcement departments, not Obama; and as for legal quirks, that's for courts (the decisions of higher courts are binding on lower courts, so the court can be said to 'create' law through precedents) and legislatures (who write the statutes) to fix. I don't see how it's righteous or appropriate for the executive to play any role.
I am not exactly sure what you even object to here? Do you object to Obama using this power at all? If not, then where is your brightline between when use becomes abuse? It's not like Obama is sending deadly villains ought into the streets to rape and pillage...
It's abuse - well, maybe that's too strong a term, misuse perhaps - except in the most exceptional of situations - when it's shown beyond doubt that the court has jailed an innocent, for example. In this case, the delivery of justice outweighs the importance of the separation of powers. But the principle of proportionality or overcrowding in prisons aren't of the same importance.

We have the rule of law to prevent the exercise of arbitrary power. If the President encroach onto the power of the judiciary arbitrarily, even with the best of intentions, it creates a pretty bad precedent, and erodes foundations of the rule of law.
If they feel the sentence was too heavy, or if they are behaving well and can thus reintegrate into society, this can be done within the judicial and correctional systems, through appeals and parole respectively.

This is often an ineffective method of redress, and ignores the very point of the check and balance nature of the pardons. The whole idea is to deny the judiciary sole control over who is convicted and sentenced, and for how long someone is sentenced. Checks and balances are designed to encourage every branch to meddle in every other branch. Meddling is a good thing (to an extent, ofc).
I think we just disagree over what the extent is, not whether checks and balance should exist.
Moreover, judicial redress cannot grant the kind of relief a pardon grants. Pardons, for instance, restore voting rights, whereas parole does not.
If the US has decided that felons should not have voting rights, I honestly don't see why a convicted felon (who isn't exonerated) should be able to have them.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/10/2016 5:25:47 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/9/2016 5:46:16 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
At 8/9/2016 4:49:42 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:35:50 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Not really. Pardoning is part of the system of checks and balances--it is a way for the President to counterbalance the power of the Judiciary...and frankly, the Judiciary is one of the hardest branches to counterbalance.

I can see how it's part of the system of checks and balances, but my point was that Obama was abusing this power. If the court has reached a correct decision according to the statute book (which I assume is the case for drugs), surely the executive shouldn't be in a position to challenge it, even if the laws change afterwards. After all, the change in laws took place *after* the sentencing, and therefore shouldn't be applied to the criminals who committed the crime earlier.

If they feel the sentence was too heavy, or if they are behaving well and can thus reintegrate into society, this can be done within the judicial and correctional systems, through appeals and parole respectively. These don't require executive power meddling in the judiciary.

The drug schedules are a complete joke and many schedule I drugs have absolutely no business being there given any scientific standard. These schedules prevent appeals and parole from being effective in combination with three strikes laws. For example, third strike drug offenses in California lead to life in prison without parole for the first 25 years.

My point isn't that there's nothing wrong with the laws, but that the rule of law should be respected, and the executive shouldn't exercise arbitrary power to pardon people just because they were convicted for crimes perceived as unjust.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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Fly
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8/10/2016 5:43:53 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
To sum up:

A poster who refers to black people as "dindus" is indignant because a half-black president commutes the sentence of people on the wrong side of laws tailor made to incarcerate black people, according to a former Nixon admin official.

Imagine our shock.

What is a shocker is that the Obama admin has done nothing to take weed off of Schedule I classification.
"You don't have a right to be a jerk."
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bballcrook21
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8/10/2016 6:44:59 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/10/2016 5:43:53 PM, Fly wrote:
To sum up:

A poster who refers to black people as "dindus" is indignant because a half-black president commutes the sentence of people on the wrong side of laws tailor made to incarcerate black people, according to a former Nixon admin official.

Lol you do realize that I got the OP from a news article right? Maybe you should get back into your safe space, dindu.


Imagine our shock.

What is a shocker is that the Obama admin has done nothing to take weed off of Schedule I classification.
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Friedman

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Fly
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8/10/2016 6:54:47 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/10/2016 6:44:59 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
At 8/10/2016 5:43:53 PM, Fly wrote:
To sum up:

A poster who refers to black people as "dindus" is indignant because a half-black president commutes the sentence of people on the wrong side of laws tailor made to incarcerate black people, according to a former Nixon admin official.

Lol you do realize that I got the OP from a news article right? Maybe you should get back into your safe space, dindu.

I stand uncorrected.

Imagine our shock.

What is a shocker is that the Obama admin has done nothing to take weed off of Schedule I classification.
"You don't have a right to be a jerk."
--Religion Forum's hypocrite extraordinaire serving up lulz
bsh1
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8/10/2016 8:12:02 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/10/2016 5:23:18 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/9/2016 5:00:38 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/9/2016 4:49:42 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:35:50 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 8/8/2016 5:19:39 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This sounds pretty bad. I thought the US would respect the separation of powers, but it seems that Obama is using executive powers to interfere in the judiciary. That would be acceptable if the pardoned prisoners were actually innocent, or justice would not be achieved; but this doesn't sound like the case from the OP.

Not really. Pardoning is part of the system of checks and balances--it is a way for the President to counterbalance the power of the Judiciary...and frankly, the Judiciary is one of the hardest branches to counterbalance.

I can see how it's part of the system of checks and balances, but my point was that Obama was abusing this power. If the court has reached a correct decision according to the statute book (which I assume is the case for drugs), surely the executive shouldn't be in a position to challenge it, even if the laws change afterwards. After all, the change in laws took place *after* the sentencing, and therefore shouldn't be applied to the criminals who committed the crime earlier.

Obama isn't changing the law. A commutation only impacts the sentence, and a pardon does not erase a criminal record.
I was referring to this sentence from the OP: Inmates who qualify must have served at least ten years in prison with good behavior and would have received a less stringent sentence under current drug laws.

Obama is still not retroactively applying the laws to these people, at least not in a technical sense. He is using his discretionary pardoning powers to bring ongoing sentences in line with current practices.

I also don't see how Obama is abusing this authority when there are real issues of justice and practicality to consider. Our prison system is extremely overcrowded--we don't have the space or the resources to sustain the high rates of incarceration in this country. I would argue that Obama should be pardoning more aggressively to help alleviate these strains on the system. Non-violent offenders who are often sentenced under absurdly harsh criminal drug statutes don't truly deserve the punishments they receive because their punishments defy proportionality, and so I also see Obama's actions as ethically justified.
I'm not saying that Obama's actions had no good motives. His pardons could well serve a pragmatic purpose, or they could be ethically justified. (Although I'd disagree with the latter - there is no objective standard for proportionality AFAIK, and since drugs can ruin lives, families and communities, a life sentence for repeat drug vendors seems prima facie reasonable.)

It does not seem prima facie reasonable. There is no way that one can justify sentencing someone who possessed marijuana to the same length of jail time that a serial killer would serve. That is, on its face, absurd.

Many of these people, if they are caught with a certain amount, are automatically assumed to have an intent to distribute, even when the amount was intended solely for personal use. That assumption further penalizes people who truly posed almost no threat to their families or communities.

If changes need to be made in the laws, it's done through the legislature, not through the head of state making pardons at his discretion.

Changes do need to be made, but the legislature cannot solve our prison overcrowding through legislation. Once convicted, someone must serve their time unless they have their sentences commuted or are given parole. Parole systems have obviously failed to address the problem or to keep up with ever-rising rates of incarceration, and that necessitates Obama using his powers to provide relief to our correctional facilities.

Perhaps future pardons may also reflect the interesting legal quirks of drug laws in the US: there are some people convicted under federal prohibitions of pot, for example, who lived in states where pot was legalized and even government subsidized (as in my state, where medical pot is strictly controlled by the authorities). There is often little legal clarity, and some evidence of arbitrary prosecution (i.e. some people not prosecuted, but others in similar positions are prosecuted under the same law).
In case of arbitrary prosecution, that is a problem to be resolved by law enforcement departments, not Obama;

I disagree. If someone is arbitrarily prosecuted in this manner, and his convicted, a very real injustice has take place, and Obama, because he is capable of rectifying the situation, ought to step in.

I don't see how it's righteous or appropriate for the executive to play any role.

Because the legislature and the courts need the exectuvie to interfere with their functioning in order for those systems to work effectively. Vetoes interfere, for instance, in a job of the legislature: to pass laws. Pardons and commutation interfere with a job of the courts: to sentence and convict criminals. The courts cannot be self-contained and be trusted to solve all of their problems internally.

I am not exactly sure what you even object to here? Do you object to Obama using this power at all? If not, then where is your brightline between when use becomes abuse? It's not like Obama is sending deadly villains ought into the streets to rape and pillage...

We have the rule of law to prevent the exercise of arbitrary power. If the President encroach onto the power of the judiciary arbitrarily, even with the best of intentions, it creates a pretty bad precedent, and erodes foundations of the rule of law.

There is really no erosion of the rule of law happening. Our constitution vests the President with these powers, and he can exercise them within certain constraints. Using them to solve problems in our legal system, and to prevent people from becoming victims of confusing legal systems or overharsh mandatory sentencing guidelines is not arbitrary usage.

If they feel the sentence was too heavy, or if they are behaving well and can thus reintegrate into society, this can be done within the judicial and correctional systems, through appeals and parole respectively.

This is often an ineffective method of redress, and ignores the very point of the check and balance nature of the pardons. The whole idea is to deny the judiciary sole control over who is convicted and sentenced, and for how long someone is sentenced. Checks and balances are designed to encourage every branch to meddle in every other branch. Meddling is a good thing (to an extent, ofc).
I think we just disagree over what the extent is, not whether checks and balance should exist.

Then we can agree to disagree and just end the convo here.
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Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/11/2016 3:43:59 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/10/2016 8:12:02 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Then we can agree to disagree and just end the convo here.

Sure, I don't think we can reach an agreement on this TBH.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Skepsikyma
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8/11/2016 3:51:42 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/10/2016 5:43:53 PM, Fly wrote:
To sum up:

What is a shocker is that the Obama admin has done nothing to take weed off of Schedule I classification.

Lol, the private interests that support mass incarceration won't give up that farcical designation until it's pried from their cold, dead fingers. I'm not surprised at all; no political insider is going to rock that boat until the electorate has shifted enough to actually apply real pressure.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Fly
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8/11/2016 6:39:18 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/11/2016 3:51:42 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 8/10/2016 5:43:53 PM, Fly wrote:
To sum up:

What is a shocker is that the Obama admin has done nothing to take weed off of Schedule I classification.

Lol, the private interests that support mass incarceration won't give up that farcical designation until it's pried from their cold, dead fingers. I'm not surprised at all; no political insider is going to rock that boat until the electorate has shifted enough to actually apply real pressure.

Yes, it's not so much a shocker from a largely status quo president in retrospect as it is a letdown from a "hope and change" president.
"You don't have a right to be a jerk."
--Religion Forum's hypocrite extraordinaire serving up lulz