Sholom Rubashkin, left, talks with Defense Attorney F. Montgomery Brown during a break following open statements of the child labor changers trial at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on May, 10, 2010, in Waterloo, Iowa. (RICK TIBBOTT / Courier Staff Photographer)
nysun.com/Written by Ira Stoll
Reasonable people may differ on the wisdom of President Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Supporters may see Mr. Arpaio’s case as an example of a deplorable trend: the criminalization of policy differences. The Arizona lawman got caught in a fight over immigration policy.
I’m glad that President Trump has familiarized himself with the pardon power that is enshrined in Article II of the Constitution. There’s a long list of other pardon candidates at least as worthy as Sheriff Joe, and maybe even more worthy.
Doubtless there are many other worthy candidates. I’d add I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby — left on the battlefield by George W. Bush, in Vice President Cheney’s memorable formulation. Larry Franklin, a Pentagon Iran analyst prosecuted for talking to a pro-Israel lobbyist, deserves a pardon. So does Sholom Rubashkin, an Iowa kosher-meat-processing executive whose case has attracted the interest of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and a long list of former Justice Department officials (I’ve done a small amount of paid work related to that case).
If this list tends toward the rich, famous, or white-collar, remember that some of these people attracted prosecutorial attention precisely because they were high-profile targets guaranteed to attract headlines and build prosecutorial careers. Feel free to add your own less famous names to the list. The important principle is that Sheriff Joe’s pardon is just a starting point. Given all the flaws in the American criminal justice system — a point on which there is bipartisan agreement — there’s no reason for President Trump to be hesitant to use the pardon power he is granted by the Constitution.