Original Argument: The Lost Chapters. Translated by Joshua Charles

Number 74

The Command of the Military and Naval Forces, and the Pardoning Power of the Executive

Alexander Hamilton

New York Packet

Tuesday, March 25, 1788

The President of the United States is to be the:

“…commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states when called into the actual service of the United States.”[1]

In addition to being in line with all the general precedents of the state constitutions as far as this subject is concerned, it is also so obviously appropriate that it doesn’t require anymore explanation or defense.  Even the state constitutions which have combined the Executive with some sort of executive council (to approve of his decisions) have, for the most part, concentrated the military authority on him alone.  Of all the duties and concerns of government, waging war is unique in that what it requires can only be provided by concentrating the power of waging it into a single hand.  The waging of a war implies having the ability to direct the whole strength of a nation, and the power of directing and using this national strength is part of the unusual and essential definition of Executive authority.

“The President may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.”[2]

This statement merely states the obvious, since the right which it gives the President is automatically part of being President in the first place.  He is authorized “to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”[3] Both the interests of humanity and good policy concur in concluding that the harmless ability of granting pardons should be as little restricted as possible.  Criminal codes all over the world tend to be so necessarily severe that without easy access to exceptions in cases of unfortunate guilt, justice would always appear to be too bloody and cruel.  Since the sense of personal responsibility increases as the number of people who hold that responsibility decreases, we can safely assume that a single man (the President) would be more than capable of taking into account the personal motives and circumstances of certain individuals which might not have been able to hold water when put up against the severity of the law.  Additionally, he would be the one least susceptible to simply trying to protect whomever he wished from the just requirements of the law.  The idea that the fate of a fellow human being would be completely dependent on his decision would naturally inspire the President to be very meticulous and cautious when deciding who to pardon and why.  His desire to not be accused of weakness, or of tacitly encouraging bad behavior, would also cause him to be cautious, but for entirely different reasons.  On the other hand, since men generally derive confidence in numbers, they might encourage each other to be hard headed in deciding whom to pardon, which would make them less fearful of being accused of inappropriately showing mercy.  Because of reasons like this, it appears to me that one man would be more capable of dealing out mercy on behalf of the government than a group of men would be.

If I am not mistaken, the wisdom of giving the President the power of pardoning has only been objected to as it relates to the crime of treason.[4] It has been argued that the power to pardon treason should have required the agreement of one, or both Houses of Congress.  I won’t deny that there are good reasons to require the involvement of one or both Houses of Congress in dealing with pardoning treason.  Since treason is a crime which is directed at society as a whole, once it has been lawfully determined that treason was committed, it would seem appropriate to require the consent of Congress in order to show mercy towards whoever was convicted.  This should actually be how pardoning treason should be dealt with, since it is not entirely possible to rule out a conspiracy of some sort on the part of the President.  But there are also many significant problems with such a plan.  It is beyond doubt that a single man of wisdom and good sense would be much more capable of balancing the arguments for and against pardoning treason than any given group of people would be, no matter the size.  We must also remember that treason typically involves seditious actions as well, as has recently occurred in Massachusetts.[5] In every such case, it is likely that the representatives of the People would be tainted by the same sort of spirit which gave rise to the sedition or treason in the first place.  With similar feelings on both the side of the People and their representatives, it is likely that the desire to do favors for friends, as well as mutual sympathy for either the condemned person (or people) would be enough to garner a vote for a pardon in Congress, when what may actually be needed was a terrifying example of what happens to those who commit such crimes.  On the other hand, if the sedition was the result of things which aroused the anger of the majority party, then they would most likely be unwilling to grant mercy, even when good policy dictated that such mercy should be granted.  But the primary argument in favor of giving the President the full power to pardon is this: during a time of insurrection or rebellion, there are often critical moments when a well-timed offer of pardon to the insurgents or rebels could very well reestablish peace and tranquility.  However, moments like that are few and far between, and if they are not taken advantage of, they may never come again.  The slow process of convening Congress in order to approve any offer of a pardon may allow golden opportunities such as this to slip through our fingers.  The loss of a week, a day, or even an hour may sometimes be fatal.

Some might say that, as a compromise, the President could occasionally be given the power to pardon in certain situations that may require such a power.  My answer to that would be this: first, it is questionable that under a limited Constitution, such a power could be delegated by a law; and secondly, in general, it would be unwise to extend even the prospect of a pardon before it was even required by any particular situation.  An action like that would tend to make the government appear weak, and might even embolden those who are guilty of sedition or treason.

Publius


[1]United States Constitution: Article II, Section 2, clause 1

[2]United States Constitution: same reference as previous footnote

[3]United States Constitution: same reference as previous footnote

[4]United States Constitution: Article III, Section 3

[5]Shays’ Rebellion (1787): Explanation found in Federalist No. 6.

Do YOU pass? Glenn Beck takes the WHITE PRIVILEGE test

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On his Friday Exclusive show, Glenn Beck took Monitor Racism's white privilege test, administered by psychologist Dr. Karlyn Borysenko. The test is comprised of 26 questions designed to assess how much white privilege plays a role in the test-taker's life.

Watch the video clip below to see how Glenn measured up:

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Dr. Scott Atlas, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow and former chief of Neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Monday to cut through the confusion and politics clouding our understanding of COVID-19 and to give the facts about the so-called second wave of this pandemic.

"I think everything should be done by looking at the data, instead of just models, or even just allowing fear to go into the exchange. So if we look at the data, we see there's no question that [COVID-19] cases are increasing in many states. And that's to be expected, for a few reasons," Atlas said.

"Of course, when we test more, we're going to detect more cases. And when they have thousands and thousands of people in the streets protesting, and screaming, and sharing megaphones, we're going to have more cases," he explained. "The question really is: What is the significance of these cases, and how we're going to handle these consequences?"

Atlas noted that the overwhelming majority of people getting COVID-19 in this "second wave" are younger, healthier people who are not at significant risk, according to "evidence from all over the world, including the United States."

"The overwhelming majority of people recover fully from the infection, so that's not really the issue. In fact, the issue is only two-fold," he said. "We need to protect the elderly high-risk people, particularly in nursing homes ... and prevent hospitals from being overcrowded. This is the point of the policy. The policy was never to stop all cases of COVID."

Dr. Atlas argued that political policies need to focus on protecting the most vulnerable without destroying the lives of those with extremely low risk.

"Frankly, one of the most egregious failures of the policy people is, not just allow[ing] fear to infiltrate their own thinking and do lockdowns, which are severely harmful," he emphasized. "But secondly, they have failed to reassure the public about the facts, and about the relative risk here. It's a very serious dangerous disease — for a group of people. And we know who those people are. They are high-risk, elderly people with comorbidities. Everyone else, it's not a high-risk disease."

Glenn asked Dr. Atlas to weigh in on whether or not schools should be opened in the fall.

"This is a slam-dunk issue," he answered. "There is zero science to back up claims that the schools should be closed or even opened with any constraints whatsoever."

Watch the video clip below for more details:

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Roger Stone is kind of a scumbag but the outrage over his commutation by President Trump has gone off the rails. Thus far in his presidency, Trump has commuted the sentence for 11 individuals while in comparison, Bill Clinton had 61. Even worse, Barack Obama commuted the sentence of 1,715 criminals! Just by the numbers, the outrage is insane. But then add in that both Obama and Clinton commuted or pardoned the sentence of terrorists and/or "friends" of the the president and the double standard is outrageous.

Here is a list of just a few of the worst offenders:

Bill Clinton Pardons/Commuted sentences

Terrorists

  • Commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, a Puerto Rican paramilitary organization that set off 120 bombs in the United States, mostly in New York City and Chicago. There were convictions for conspiracy to commit robbery, bomb-making, and sedition, as well as firearms and explosives violations.
  • Linda Evans and Susan Rosenberg were both commuted and both were members of Weather Underground and the May 19 Communist Movement, and were convicted on weapons and explosives charges.

Case similar to Trump/Roger Stone

  • Susan McDougal was sentenced to 18 months in prison on contempt charges for refusing to testify about Clinton in the Whitewater scandal only to have Clinton pardoned her.

Pardons/commutations that look like a response to bribes

  • Carlos Vignali was convicted for cocaine trafficking. Almon Glenn Braswell was convicted for mail fraud and perjury, and was under investigation for money laundering and tax evasion. Vignali was commuted while Braswell was pardoned, but they were also both caught paying approximately $200,000 to Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham, to represent their respective cases for clemency.
  • Marc Rich fled the U.S. after he was caught owing $48 million in taxes and was charged with 51 counts for tax fraud. Everyone was surprised when Clinton pardoned him. It was later revealed that Rich's wife made substantial donations to both the Clinton library and to Hillary Clinton's senate campaign.

Pardon for a member of Clinton's family

  • Clinton pardoned his brother, Roger Clinton, who had been convicted on drug charges. A year after the pardon he would be charged for Drunk driving and disorderly conduct.

Drug Cartel lawyer

  • Clinton commuted the sentence for Harvey Weinig, a former NY lawyer who was sentenced in 1996 to 11 years in prison for facilitating an extortion-kidnapping scheme and helping launder at least $19 million for the Cali cocaine cartel.

Obama Pardons/Commuted sentences - the most since Truman: Obama granted clemency to nearly 2,000 individuals, including 212 pardons and 1,715 commutations.

Terrorist

  • Obama commuted the sentence of another FALN terrorist, Oscar Lopez Rivera.

Traitors

  • Chelsea Manning: the former Army Intelligence analyst was convicted of leaking documents that revealed classified information on military and diplomatic activities all around the world only to have her sentence commuted.

Case similar to Micheal Flynn or Roger Stone

  • Obama pardoned General James Cartwright, who had been convicted for lying to the FBI (sound familiar?!). Cartwright was considered "Obama's favorite general".

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck goes where the Left and the media don't want us to go. The protests, riots, pandemic — it's all one big distraction being weaponized to shield the Deep State from the big reveal.

The case against General Michael Flynn is bigger than a phone call with the Russian ambassador; it exposes everything. Glenn reveals multiple cogs in the Deep State wheel that tried to destroy Donald Trump's presidency.

This story has everything: secret meetings, spies, glamorous European locations. Glenn puts all of the pieces together and interviews the man who was an eyewitness to all of it — former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Specifically targeted by this Deep State coup, his reputation and life may never be the same. He reveals the names of those he believes were behind his setup and the coup against the president.

Watch a preview of the full episode below:


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