Much has been said, of late, about President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Of course, the media, Democrats (I know: one in the same) and various and sundry Never Trumpers can be counted upon never to have a good, accurate or true thing to say about Donald Trump.
For those that have not been following the situation, Arpaio is the long serving sheriff of an Arizona county deeply affected by illegal immigration. Under a court order to ignore the law, Arpaio and his deputies continued to enforce it, by such means as actually inquiring of the immigration status of people that were obviously illegally in the country, in many cases, in the country for mere hours. This resulted, under the Obama Administration, in the arrest of Arpaio, 85, for criminal contempt in a case directly referred to the feds by Judge Snow.
The progressive narrative has been that President Trump grossly abused the pardon power, and is, as usual, ad nauseum, destroying the Constitution. CNN called it “disgraceful.” For Rolling Stone it was “terrifying.” The Atlantic called it “a flagrant assault on civil rights,” and National Review, a pre-Trump conservative media outlet called it “unmerited, unnecessary and impulsive.” Closer to home, AZ Central reported some 100 local lawyers staged a “lunchtime protest” of the pardon. These were among the more sedate, less spittle-flecked reactions.
What has been little noted is that the pardon power wielded by Mr. Trump is absolute. As I noted in previous articles there are very few limitations on that power, and none bearing on the Arpaio pardon. Any president may use it whenever he chooses and for whatever reason. In fact, the pardon power is an express, not implied, feature of The Constitution. The logic—such as it is—of the Left, then is by exercising an express power reserved for the executive in the Constitution, Mr. Trump is destroying the Constitution in a disgraceful, terrifying, flagrant, unmerited, unnecessary and impulsive manner, causing more than 100 sweaty—it’s hot at noon in Arizona—lawyers to protest the horror of it all. Of course, no such outcry was heard at the end of the
Age of Obama when Barack Obama set all-time records for commutations and pardons, wielding the pardon power to release nearly 50 felons serving life sentences. One doesn’t get life in jail for jaywalking, or contempt of a corrupt judge. It is legitimate to argue about whether a given pardon is appropriate or wise, but again, no such argument was brooked by the Left when Mr. Obama was setting records.
As to the propriety of the Arpaio pardon, Paul Mirengoff at Powerline provides information absolutely lacking in the media:
[Full disclosure: I was asked to evaluate the bias of Judge Snow in light of evidence that several witnesses report that Judge Snow’s wife said in a public restaurant, very clearly, ‘Judge Snow wanted to do everything to make sure’ that Sheriff Arpaio not elected. Neither Judge Snow nor his wife has ever denied the statement.] (Emphasis added). . .
It should be obvious that whatever the duties of a federal judge are, that job description does not include conducting a judicial proceeding in a way to insure that Sheriff Arpaio is not elected and to pursue an investigation that is even broader than that for what appears to be personal reasons. . . . )
As to Judge Snow’s handling of the case against Arpaio — the one that produced the order Arpaio was found contemptuously to have violated; the contempt case, which Judge Snow referred to the Justice Department, was handled by a different judge — Rotunda sets forth the following (I have omitted citations to the trial transcript):
By all means, take the link and discover why Mr. Trump’s pardon is far more appropriate than the media would lead one to believe. Judge Snow was successful. Arpaio lost his bid for re-election, and at 85, is likely not long for this veil of sin and toil. At least he no longer faces a prison term for enforcing the law the Obama Administration refused to enforce.