In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Al Green (D-TX) reintroduced this proposed constitutional amendment from the 115th Congress to prevent the president from issuing a self-pardon:
“I rise today to defend the Constitution and avert a constitutional crisis… that would be created should any rogue president attempt to pardon himself… I do not believe that the president has the ability to self-pardon… I do not believe that the Constitution allows a president to forgive himself for the most egregious crimes barred by our laws."
In the current Congress, this bill has no cosponsors. In the previous session, it had three cosponsors in the House, all of whom were Democrats.
Of Note: It isn’t clear whether the president has the power to issue a self-pardon because no president has ever tried to pardon himself and been prosecuted, thus creating an opportunity for the Supreme Court to rule on the question. The Constitution’s only explicit limitation on pardon power is that it can’t be used by a president to absolve himself of an impeachment, while it’s implied that the president doesn’t have the authority to pardon offenses committed under state law.
A 1974 opinion written by the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel four days before President Richard Nixon resigned suggested that the president couldn’t pardon himself “under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case.” On the other hand, in a 1998 House Judiciary Committee hearing Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) — who now chairs the committee — said the “prevailing opinion is that the president can pardon himself.”
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: JTSorrell / iStock)