Presidential Pardon Power: Are There Limits and, if Not, Should There Be?

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Paul F. Eckstein, Mikaela Colby.

Among the more specific and significant powers in the United States Constitution vested in the President is the power to pardon found in Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, which provides in relevant part that the President:

shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Although the Founders considered several limitations on the pardon power, such as requiring full consent of the Senate and prohibiting pardons in cases of treason, ultimately they adopted only one: prohibiting the President from issuing pardons in cases of impeachment.

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