The pardon power of the U.S. president is very broad. A president may pardon any federal crime committed prior to the date of the pardon, and may issue pardons to individuals or groups of persons for offenses committed in connection with multiple discrete events. However, the Constitution’s text and British and American precedent suggest that a valid pardon presupposes awareness by the President of that which is being pardoned as a logical and legal precondition for an exercise of judgment about the propriety of granting clemency. Accordingly, a pardon of the type issued by President Gerald Ford to former President Richard Nixon, purporting to pardon Nixon for all federal offenses committed during his terms of office, irrespective of Ford’s knowledge of them, should be deemed unconstitutional.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.