Jack Kemp

"I would like him to get one (a pardon)."
"We didn't vote to put him away."
"I don't want him to go to jail."
Ann Redington, juror on Libby trial, on "Hardball", March 7

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Ann Redington, a juror in the I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby trial has weighed in for a pardon for Libby. Another juror, Denis Collins, expressed similar sentiments when he was interviewed by friend and liberal columnist Maureen Dowd. "I asked him how he would feel if W. pardons Scooter," Dowd wrote, "'I would really not care,' he replied."

If even two jurors are endorsing a pardon, the president should not hesitate to take them up on their recommendation and pardon Libby immediately. It's the right thing to do and it's the right thing to do now - anything less makes a travesty of our system of justice.

As columnist Mark Steyn said about Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's closing argument: "When a prosecutor speaks about 'a cloud over the vice president's office' and 'a cloud over the White House,' he is speaking politically." The criminalization of this political fight should end. Democrat super lawyer David Boies has joined the bipartisan chorus of those saying that Fitzgerald never should have prosecuted Libby when there was no underlying criminal violation at issue.

Presidents of both parties have used the pardon power to grant clemency to former government officials who were prosecuted - most often by independent counsels - for conduct that most likely would not have been criminalized but for political considerations. President Bush can look to the history of both his father and President Bill Clinton for examples of similar pardons.

When President George H.W. Bush pardoned Caspar Weinberger and a number of other individuals in connection with Iran-Contra matters, he wrote: "The prosecutions of the individuals I am pardoning represent what I believe is a profoundly troubling development in the political and legal climate of our country: the criminalization of policy differences. These differences should be addressed in the political arena, without the Damocles sword of criminality hanging over the heads of some of the combatants. The proper target is the President, not his subordinates; the proper forum is the voting booth, not the courtroom. In recent years, the use of criminal processes in policy disputes has become all too common. It is my hope that the action I am taking today will begin to restore these disputes to the battleground where they properly belong."

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp is Founder and Chairman of Kemp Partners and a contributing columnist to Townhall.com.
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