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Could Trump Pardon Everyone for Everything Forever?

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Since Trump has talked about pardoning himself, his family and others, there has been considerable interest in the scope of the pardon power. LegalEagle has an excellent video that walks through key questions about the pardon based on precedent and legal scholarship. My interest, though, is with a seemingly crazy question: could Trump (or any president) pardon everyone for everything forever? While this question might seem stupid, it is worth considering because it is an invitation to explore the limits of the pardon power of the president. Here is the law as written in the Constitution: “…he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” Since this is a mere single sentence, I will also need to rely on legal precedents and informed speculation on the part of Constitutional scholars to answer my question. I will begin with the matter of pardoning everyone. While there is the question of whether the President can pardon himself, the President can clearly pardon anyone else. The President can also issue mass pardons, as Carter did in the case of the draft dodgers. Since the Constitution does not specify a numerical limit, then Trump does have the power to pardon everybody. If he can pardon anyone and issue mass pardons, then there would seem to be no line that can be drawn forbidding him from extending pardons to everyone. As such, Trump can pardon everyone. But can he pardon everyone for everything? There are two limits specified on the pardon power. The first is that the pardon only applies to “offenses against the United States.” This has been established to mean federal crimes and so Trump cannot pardon people for state crimes. There have been some attempts to argue that “offenses against the United States” includes all crimes because the states are parts of the United States; but this argument has never gained any traction. But this could certainly change with a court ruling. The second is. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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