The Majesty of the Law

by Kieran Healy on July 2, 2007

This morning, “Orin Kerr noted”: that a three-judge panel had declined delay jail time for Scooter Libby. In an early “comment”: on the thread, I said:

bq. Now we’ll see whether Libby has enough leverage to get a pardon before he goes to jail, or whether he’ll have to wait. Seeing as Bush’s ratings are permanently in the toilet, and he probably doesn’t think Libby didn’t anything wrong anyway, a pardon might well be forthcoming.

And as things turned out this afternoon, “it certainly didn’t take long to come forth.”: Bush commuted Libby’s sentence. (Not a pardon, so we still get to call him a convicted criminal — at least till January 2009, when I imagine a full pardon will be dispensed. But the bottom line is, no jail time for Scooter.) Well done good and faithful servant, I suppose.



ogged 07.02.07 at 10:22 pm

As I understand it, commutation has to do with the sentence, a pardon with the conviction. So he’s still a convicted criminal.


otto 07.02.07 at 10:28 pm

Maybe he’ll get a pardon later on, in the dying hours of Bush’s presidency. So the conviction may not last either.


alphie 07.02.07 at 10:46 pm

You almost went to jail in the summer.

It is still summer.

Back East, where you remain free, the country will already be turning…into a Banana Republic.


JP Stormcrow 07.02.07 at 10:52 pm

Nicely positioned right above the Annals of Personal Responsibility post.

“See Scooter, we told you there was no reason to climb out on that ledge. No harm, no foul, eh? Really, we were laughing with you, not at you.”


Randy Paul 07.02.07 at 11:14 pm

I really hope now that they at least make an attempt to disbar him.


Barry 07.02.07 at 11:53 pm

That will be an interesting thing, Randy. If it’s the DC bar, well, it’s pretty clear that Scooter is in good with the elites.

OTOH, I’m sure that he’ll be well taken care of; I imagine that his annual income will never dip below my decadal income, and will probably run closer to my lifetime income.


shub-negrorath 07.03.07 at 12:09 am

Libby’s punishment will now be a $250,000 fine and two years’ probation. The majesty is killing me over here.


Sebastian Holsclaw 07.03.07 at 12:17 am

It is a freaking travesty. I’m not a super big fan of the Presidential pardon power. When was the last one that most people of good faith could look at and say “Yes, that was appropriate?” Seriously, does anyone have stories of good Presidential pardons?

Could we at least amend the power so that you can’t pardon people from your own administration?


Henry (not the famous one) 07.03.07 at 12:48 am

#8: Gerald Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D’Aquino, the woman convicted (on the basis of perjured testimony) for treason as Tokyo Rose.

As for Libby, I feel like poor Buonasera: “Suspended sentence! Suspended sentence!”


Dave 07.03.07 at 12:56 am

At least you can call Libby a convict (commuted sentence still means convicted). George thinks he knows better than a bunch of judges. He thought the sentence was excessive.


vivian 07.03.07 at 1:37 am

We can always call him “the pardoned former convict” or similar contextful references along the lines of “unindicted co-conspirator”. English is a great language, Bush hasn’t ruined that for us yet.


JP Stormcrow 07.03.07 at 2:21 am

We can always call him “the pardoned former convict”

I think the accurate designation for the next 1.5 years will be: “To be pardoned, almost a convict, perjurer and obstructer of justice.”

‘Cuz you gotta keep that 5th amendment in play a while longer.


asm 07.03.07 at 2:24 am

It will not be long before Scooter Libby too releases his versions of the events in a tell-all : “The Emancipation Proclamation, Or it was never really my fault”. This will be Mr. Libby’s second novel and, assuming there is any justice in the world, will be categorized under Fiction.


Dr. Free-Ride 07.03.07 at 3:09 am

“The Emancipation Proclamation, Or it was never really my fault”

There’s going to be another scene with bears, isn’t there?


Lord Acton 07.03.07 at 3:14 am

hmmm … Amnesty

President Bush is really in into Amnesty. Not only for non convicted “illegal” aliens but also for actually convicted former vice-Presidential “aides”.


Jon H 07.03.07 at 4:23 am

shub writes: “Libby’s punishment will now be a $250,000 fine and two years’ probation. The majesty is killing me over here.”

The fine will, no doubt, be paid for out of the legal fund collected by his well-heeled buddies.


abb1 07.03.07 at 7:36 am

Another American patriot has been denied the opportunity of becoming a martyr.


glenn 07.03.07 at 9:53 am

Yes, abb1, and so what do we do with the bonfire and matches?


Ben 07.04.07 at 2:23 pm

Have I got this backwards?

Guantanamo Bay prisoners are held without charge because they might be damaging to National Security and that’s A-OK?

Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury and damaged National Security but is let off prison and that’s also A-OK.

This must be the clear thinking of the American right that the rest of us mere mortals struggle to keep up with.

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