Can the President Pardon Himself?
In the wake of Bush letting his old mate, “Scooter” Libby, out of prison Yahoo hosted a discussion on whether the president could pardon himself:
Let’s say it was a Capital crime. And let’s say the whole cabinet was in on it. Could the president pardon his whole cabinet, resign, and then the Vice-President (now president) pardon him?
No one really knows the answer because it has never happened and been litigated. However, the majority view is that a president can pardon himself (assuming he does so prior to impeachment). Art. II Sec. 2 of the Constitution states, in part, that the president “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” The purpose of this clause was to insure the separation of powers by preventing the courts from using the law as a legal blackmail against the president. . . There is a minority view that the president cannot pardon himself.