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How Bush Decided on the Libby Commutation:
Newsweek's Michael Isikoff has a fascinating report here. UPDATE: For a perspective on how the process worked in another commutation case a few years ago, this post at Legal Ethics Forum is interesting. (Hat tip: Adam Levin)
boonelsj (mail):
Interesting, but I'm not sure how Isikoff came to the conclusion that Bush was "conflicted" about the decision.
7.8.2007 5:04pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
Isikoff didn't come up with anything substantive that wasn't reported in the Times (or was it the Post) right afteractively the pardon -- with the possible exception that Bush sought to find something that would justify saying that Libby was not guilty as charged of obstruction and perjury.
7.8.2007 5:06pm
MDJD2B (mail):
Am I missing something? I thought that Libby was not pardoned. I was under the impression that his jail term was commuted, but that the conviction remained.
7.8.2007 5:30pm
OrinKerr:
Ack! My apologies. I've corrected the title. (I think of all executive clemency as involving the pardon power, so when I'm not paying attention I slip on that.)
7.8.2007 5:48pm
R Nebblesworth:
He hasn't been pardoned so that he can take the 5th in future proceedings.
7.8.2007 5:48pm
Houston Lawyer:
Other than speculation over motives, there is nothing new here. Apparently, he had to do it because the Cheyney silently willed it.
7.8.2007 5:49pm
therut:
Is this reporting news or reading tea leaves. Yea sure.
7.8.2007 6:10pm
byomtov (mail):
I have a question. Suppose the appeals court orders a new trial, and Libby is again convicted, after Bush is out of office. Could Libby then be sent to jail, or is the commuted sentence the maximum danger he faces?
7.8.2007 6:30pm
Mr. Impressive (mail):
MDJD2B,

Read the title of the post. It says: How Bush Decided on the Libby Pardon. It does not say: How Bush Decided to Pardon Libby.

The way that Bush decided on the Libby Pardon (a topic of conversation that many right wing organizations, like the National Review, incessantly insisted on before Bush made his decision) is by not giving him one, but instead giving him instead a commutation.

Of course, this commutation for someone in Libby's situation is essentially a free pass worth nearly as much to Libby as a pardon. Someone like Libby does not need a license to practice law to make good money. The 250k fine is pretty much a joke as well. Overall, the commutation was practically as good as a pardon.

But of course, conservatives are all for the rule of law, as long as it is only used to imprison the disadvantaged. Sending someone to prison and throwing away the key for drug use is okay, but this relatively short prison sentence of 30-months means we just have to ignore the rule of law, because it is just too harsh. Oh well, this case is nothing more than an illustration that who you know means more than anything else when it comes to "justice" in America.

Conservatives talk about fiscal restraint. But then cut taxes and increase spending. I guess they prefer to tax us through higher interest rates that benefit their rich friends.

Conservatives talk about the rule of law. But then they make exceptions for their friends. I have yet to see a rich person rot in jail awaiting trial because they could not afford bail. But of course, the rule of law means something very different for them that it means for the rest of us. For Libby, the rule of law means not losing your freedom for even one day for committing a felony and obstructing justice, preventing the prosecutor from finding out the truth behind the outing of a covert CIA agent. For everyone else, the rule of law means you get to spend long hours in prison for victimless crimes like drug use and getting to wait in jail if your accused of a crime and can't afford bail.

It is kind of funny. I have seen people spend more time in jail for driving with a suspended license than Libby spent after committing a felony that obstructed investigation into a serious breach of national security. It is interesting how the particular manifestation of the rule of law advocated by conservatives means very different consequences for different people.

The rule of law for conservatives means that the managers of private equity funds only pay 15% on their labor (even when they aren't investing their own money!) while the rest of us pay more.

What this country needs is some serious class warfare. Actually, we already have it. The only thing is that the middle class doesn't know it yet. Conservatives from the upper class have already gone to battle. (Of course, not all all upper class individuals are the same. There are upper class liberals who are good and decent people who advocate for justice rather than privilege). This free pass for Libby is nothing more than another manifestation of class warfare.

But I digress. I meant to point out nothing more than that Orin's title does not imply that Bush pardoned libby, only that he decided on the topic known as the Libby Pardon.
7.8.2007 6:56pm
Adam K:

He hasn't been pardoned so that he can take the 5th in future proceedings.


He has already been prosecuted and convicted, and double jeopardy has attached; a pardon would not alter that in any way. He could not be again prosecuted for the same crime, and without that as a possibility, he could not invoke the 5th, since a requirement is that one must face a reasonable likelihood of prosecution. So I don't really see how the pardon or lack thereof figures in at all.
7.8.2007 6:57pm
Henri Le Compte (mail):
Mr. Impressive:
Life must be comfortable indeed now that you have divided all people (and all the rest of life's puzzles) into simple black and white camps composed of easily identifiable, and mutually exclusive, pieces. I envy the nuanced thinking, and appreciation of subtlety, that has allowed you to achieve such clarity.

Black. White. And there shall be no twain!
7.8.2007 7:41pm
scote (mail):

He has already been prosecuted and convicted, and double jeopardy has attached; a pardon would not alter that in any way. He could not be again prosecuted for the same crime, and without that as a possibility, he could not invoke the 5th, since a requirement is that one must face a reasonable likelihood of prosecution

Two things are missing from that assumption. One is that he still maintains his innocence and has an appeal pending. Second, you assume he has only committed the crimes he was charged with. There may still be many tangentially related crimes that have not been un-covered. He could still invoke.

...I assume that Bush would issue a blanket pardon that would absolve him of all related crimes but that will wait till the last days in office.

I also don't see much value in calling a convicted perjurer to testify to congress. It is clear that he'll lie to cover up any crimes, and now he can do so with impunity given that it is all but certain that Bush will pardon him in the end. Even without that, lying to congress is unlikely to result in contempt of congress charges given the lack of political will to do so nor is the Administration likely to be helpful in investigating and charging Libby again.
7.8.2007 7:52pm
John Herbison (mail):

Suppose the appeals court orders a new trial, and Libby is again convicted, after Bush is out of office. Could Libby then be sent to jail, or is the commuted sentence the maximum danger he faces?

Without having researched the matter, I would surmise that a harsher sentence upon retrial would give rise to a presumption of vindictiveness, which could be rebutted by objective factors, placed on the record, justifying the more severe sentence. If the resentencing were before a different judge, however, I'm not sure that the presumption would apply.


He has already been prosecuted and convicted, and double jeopardy has attached; a pardon would not alter that in any way. He could not be again prosecuted for the same crime, and without that as a possibility, he could not invoke the 5th, since a requirement is that one must face a reasonable likelihood of prosecution. So I don't really see how the pardon or lack thereof figures in at all.

I'm not sure that that applies while an appeal is in progress and the Defendant is seeking to set aside the conviction. In the event of a reversal (on grounds other than insufficiency of evidence) a retrial would ordinarily not be barred by double jeopardy. Hence, if Libby's appeal is successful, he does face a reasonable likelihood of prosecution.

My suspicion is that Karl Rove, who made multiple appearances before the grand jury in this case, was scared spitless that Libby's allegedly faulty memory would improve if Libby stepped inside a prison.
7.8.2007 8:04pm
Smokey:
Mr. Impressive:
''But of course, conservatives are all for the rule of law...''
Absolutely. But ''Mr. Impressive'' isn't so impressive when desperately trying to spin a completely legal commutation into some kind of an illegal act.
Art II, Sec 2: The President shall... have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons...

Why are libtards always trying to cast the issuing of this commutation -- directly resulting from Fitzgerald's Nifong-like, vindictive and self-justifying persecution -- into an illegal act? We're onto them, yet they continue to portray the president's constitutional act as illegal. As Chocolate City Ray Nagin said, "Let's be fair."

Want something to really sink your teeth into? Here 'tis:

http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon/clintonpardon_grants.htm
7.8.2007 8:26pm
Houston Lawyer:
The way double jeopardy works is that you cannot be sentenced to a higher penalty upon retrial. Hence, Scooter cannot be sent to jail regardless of the outcome of any appeal and retrial.
7.8.2007 8:28pm
scote (mail):
Smokey:

Calling people "libtards" == being a troll and doesn't lead to a constructive conversation--not that I should feed the trolls. I have never accused anyone of being a troll in these forums. I'm making a rare but, I think, justified exception.

BTW, your two wrongs make a right argument is not persuasive, either.
7.8.2007 8:47pm
Mr. Impressive (mail):

desperately trying to spin a completely legal commutation into some kind of an illegal act


Are you illiterate? I said nothing of the sort.

In fact, all the other injustices I compared this pardon to are likewise not illegal.

Something does not have to be illegal to be unjust. This pardon was unjust. It is an example of class warfare. But, it is not illegal. How is that for nuance.
7.8.2007 8:59pm
Mr. Impressive (mail):
Henri Le Compte,

A nuanced view of nuance would not apply nuance when it is inapplicable. Nuance is often a good thing and it can be dangerous to overlook in some contexts. However, nuance is no substitute for values!

Is their nuance in conservative upper classe's warfare against the middle class and lower class? Absolutely. They target different people and groups using different tactics in their pursuit of unjustified and unjustifiable privilege.

Likewise, we can make nuanced distinctions between Hitler's extermination of millions of people and Stalin's extermination of millions of other people. In certain contexts, these distinctions would be very important and very useful. However, from a moral perspective, there is not much seperating Hitler from Stalin, they are both basically pure embodiments of evil, and all the nuance in the world will not change that. If we are talking about optimal strategies for combatting Hitler and Stalin, a nuanced understanding of their differences is quite useful. But in the contexts of judging them and knowing your enemy, these distinctions because much less important.

It appears to me that you have a black and white view of nuance. As if it should dominate in all contexts. But a more nuanced view of nuance would recognize that the distinctions one can draw have more or less significance in different contexts. That is, nuance is one tool in the intellectual and moral toolshed, but it is not everything.
7.8.2007 9:09pm
John Herbison (mail):

The way double jeopardy works is that you cannot be sentenced to a higher penalty upon retrial. Hence, Scooter cannot be sent to jail regardless of the outcome of any appeal and retrial.

Houston Lawyer, you might want to read Texas v. McCullough, 475 U.S. 134, 106 S.Ct. 976, 89 L.Ed.2d 104 (1986).
7.8.2007 9:47pm
AF:

Houston Lawyer: The way double jeopardy works is that you cannot be sentenced to a higher penalty upon retrial.


That's not true. You can be sentenced to a higher sentence upon retrial, though the sentencing judge must say why, as John Herbison explained above. See North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U.S. 711 (1969).

I haven't researched how commutation affects the analysis. But I would assume that if the conviction and sentence are vacated, the commutation of the sentence is also vacated.
7.8.2007 9:53pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Judge Gonzales told me three things about President Bush's policy in considering requests for commutation. First, that President Bush would not consider commutation if he believed that the case had already received full and fair consideration by the jury and the courts who heard the case. Second, that the President would not consider the request until he had a recommendation from the Department of Justice. Finally, he said that the President would not act on any request for commutation until all judicial avenues in the case had been exhausted.
In Libby's case, Bush decided that Libby got fair consideration from the jury, but not the judge. DoJ was still prosecuting Libby. All judicial avenues for keeping Libby out of jail had been exhausted. Sounds consistent to me.
7.8.2007 10:30pm
Justin (mail):
[Deleted by OK. Justin, c'mon, that was pretty clearly out of bounds.]
7.8.2007 10:40pm
MDJD2B (mail):
[Deleted by OK, as it was a response to the comment above.]
7.8.2007 11:19pm
Justin (mail):
Okay, fine. I'll take Roger's defense seriously. But first, can someone explain exactly the logic behind this "consistency"?

"Second, that the President would not consider the request until he had a recommendation from the Department of Justice."

Response: "DoJ was still prosecuting Libby."
7.9.2007 12:24am
Robin Roberts (mail) (www):
With respect to Isikoff's piece, I found it to be a long narrative based upon little actual direct basis. Fourth and fifth hand speculation of things all of which happened beyond the view of the supposed sources. Quite an empty article once boiled to its hard facts.
7.9.2007 12:31am
Libertarian1 (mail):
One of the great strengths of this blog is the opportunity to read opposing view points presented from an informed perspective by very knowledgeable experts. Although I doubt many minds are ever changed the banter makes it really fun.

Although Justin and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum I have found his comments uniformly informed and always a challenge to my views. Therefore I am shocked that you actually wrote a censorable post. But you took it well and homered in your next at bat.

On the other hand the posts by Mr. Impressive have not shed a lot of light on a potentially interesting subject. May I suggest that before you actually hit the "post comment" button that you reread what you wrote and wait 10 minutes. Comments written in anger often don't materially add to the discussion.
7.9.2007 12:48am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Response to Justin: I am not agreeing with the commutation; I am just saying that it is consistent with past behavior.

The DoJ already made its sentencing recommendation to the judge last month. It got more or less what it wanted, and it was fully prepared to defend that sentence on appeal. So the DoJ is already on record as to what sentence it thinks that Libby should serve. It would be silly to ask DoJ for a recommendation. Bush could just read the newspaper and learn the DoJ's position.

Also, any comparison of Libby to other cases should take into account the fact that Bush personally knows Libby and is in a position to form his own conclusions about the case. When Bush knows nothing about a commutation request, then he obviously must be more dependent on recommendations from others.
7.9.2007 12:52am
Adam J:
Roger

Surely you aren't saying it's consistent for Bush to contradict the DOJ's position. That's just silly.
7.9.2007 2:11am
ATRGeek:
Roger,

I can't tell if you are serious, but there is actually an entirely separate part of the DOJ that handles pardon and commutation requests: the Office of the Pardon Attorney. The Pardon Attorney is charged with reviewing clemency petitions and conducting investigations. During the course of those investigations, the Pardon Attorney will usually consult with the relevant US Attorney, and also with the sentencing judge (either through the US Attorney or directly). But the whole point of having a separate pardon office is that the President's exercise of his clemency powers is substantially distinct from the DOJ's exercise of prosecutorial powers.

For some details on this, see here:

Clemency Procedures

If you look at those procedures, it cannot seriously be argued that the President followed them.
7.9.2007 2:56am
scote (mail):

The DoJ already made its sentencing recommendation to the judge last month.

You are, perhaps, referring to the pre-sentencing report which suggested the 15 to 21 month sentence that Bush ignored when he commuted Libby's sentence.
7.9.2007 3:14am
Kazinski:
I think that fact that Bush knows Libby fairly well, and that his VP thinks highly of him would carry more weight than the DOJ Pardons and Clemency office. I'm sure the guidelines were written with the idea in mind that the perp and the crime would be a lot less well known to the President and his advisors than Libby was. Do you think Clinton asked the DOJ for an opinion before he pardoned his brother Roger?

One thing about Libby's crime, its hard to imagine, even if assume the facts and the motivation were exactly as Fitzgerald presented to the jury, that Libby's conduct kept anyone out of jail or could have put any innocent in jail. If Libby had told the absolute truth then Fitzgerald would have just had to fold his tent and go home. In that context it does seem 30 months was excessive.
7.9.2007 4:42am
MDJD2B (mail):
As a policy matter, we should think long an hard before we imprison public officialos for acts that do not clearly constitute corruption in office. To do otherwise invites retaliation, and sends us down the road to being a banana republic. Competent people will be less inclined to serve in office if they have to go through the stress and expense of an investigation and trial, and then have to go to prison.

Caspar Weinberger, Henry Cisneros, and John Deutsch all were in various stages of the criminal process, and the siting president pardoned them all.

In circumstances thike theirs, and like Libys, removal from office and fining is sufficient, at least for Weinberger, Deutsch, and Libby (Cisneros was under indictment for corruiption).
7.9.2007 6:58am
ATRGeek:
I love the spin that Bush "knows Libby" and therefore can go ahead and make exceptions to his established procedures and standards for Libby. At the very best this is advocating cronyism, and of course in this case Bush happens to know Libby because Libby was working for Bush's Administration, Libby committed his crimes on behalf of Bush's Administration, and Libby is still a potential witness in an ongoing investigation. But "Clinton did it!" so it is all good.

MDJD2B,

The problem with your proposal is that it would invite public officials to commit crimes and then cover up for each other through tactics like perjury and obstruction of justice, knowing that they faced no real penalties for doing so. I have a hard time seeing how that does not head us down the path to a "banana republic" as well.
7.9.2007 8:56am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
"Surely you aren't saying it's consistent for Bush to contradict the DOJ's position. That's just silly."

I think there's a way in which Roger is correct, that Bush was being consistent with his own past behavior.

When Gonzales couldn't finagle a signature from a medicated Ashcroft, Bush went ahead as if the signature didn't matter. So this isn't the first time Bush decided "to contradict the DOJ's position."
7.9.2007 9:21am
Justin (mail):
As ATRGeek most ably said, that's an absurd meaning of the clemency procedures. In all federal crimes that go to sentencing, the DoJ files a sentencing recommendation. Under your argument, clemency then becomes timely in the (usual) case in which a convicted defendant is denied bail pending appeal. But if that was true, then why not just say that? Obviously, because (for the reasons that ATRGeek alerady explained, its quite clear they meant something entirely different.

And as scote mentioned, why have that section if its ok for Bush just to completely ignore both the sentencing guidelines and the DOJ presentence report?
7.9.2007 9:41am
Justin (mail):
Also, the whole point of the 1893 executive order was to depersonalize the pardon system to avoid corruption and cronyism. So to say that because Libby and Bush know each other, we should ignore the 1893 executive order is quite counterlogical. Not to mention this is an entirely new defense from Roger, which comes up only after his old defense has been thoroughly debunked, which proves, I think, my original (now deleted) post to be quite accurate.
7.9.2007 9:45am
Constitutional Crisis (mail):
So, best case, the President gave selective attention to Libby's case, intended to sit as a super judge and jury, and listened to high-powered lobbyists and friends of Scooter.

Right. No contempt for the law there.

I say it again; I can't believe there are lawyers who will continue to shill for this Administration.
7.9.2007 11:22am
Roger Schlafly (www):
The cited article said that Bush get a DoJ recommendation, but not that he would always follow it. Bush is the decider, not the DoJ.

The DoJ manual for processing petitions says things like, "Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence" and "Generally, commutation of sentence is an extraordinary remedy that is rarely granted." These statements might make a commutation for Libby seem unlikely, but not contrary to policy. Libby's case is exceptional for several reasons.

Yes, I am saying that Bush's commutation for Libby was consistent with his past actions and policies. If not, then precisely where is the inconsistency?
7.9.2007 12:32pm
Justin (mail):
Roger,

I am still struggling to take you seriously, but here goes.

Bush policy #1: No consideration if he believed the case had already received full and fair consideration by the jury and the courts who heard the case. This seems like the one that was the least violated, but:

- Bush says the jury was correct
- The sentencing guidelines, which are presumed to be fair, provided the given sentence

Bush policy #2: Recommendation from the Department of Justice. The only plausible way to read this is in conjunction with 28 CFR 1.1 et seq. and 28 CFR 0.35-36, as explained by the DOJ Manual: " The Pardon Attorney, under the direction of the Deputy Attorney General, receives and reviews all petitions for executive clemency (which includes pardon after completion of sentence, commutation of sentence, remission of fine and reprieve), initiates and directs the necessary investigations, and prepares a report and recommendation for submission to the President in every case." This did not occur.

Policy #3: The President would not act on any request for commutation until all judicial avenues in the case had been exhausted. Since Libby's appeal is still pending in the DC Circuit, this clearly has not been met. Note: This policy clearly relates to, but goes farther than, the DOJ Manual rules. That is, while the DOJ Manual rules permit some exceptions as to "commutiation requests . . . from personw who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court preceding," Bush's policy turns that into an absolute (except, ya know, for Libby).

Unrelated point, directed at Orin or anyone otherwise knowledgeable. Why come the power to Commute, which is part of the power to Pardon, grants the President a right to award someone a reprieve without an acceptance of responsibility, when that power does not exist for pardons? I can accept the lesser-included power, but I don't understand how the lesser-included power can give the President a power he doesn't have when utilizing the enumerated power.
7.9.2007 1:28pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Answering Justin:
1. Sentencing guidelines, DoJ recommendations, and judges' orders may well enjoy a presumption of fairness, but the President's power is for those cases where he thinks the sentence was not fair. Bush didn't think that the Libby sentence was fair.

2. If Libby had submitted a petition for commutation, then the Pardon Attorney would have reviewed it.

3. It is the prison time that Bush thought was unfair, and he did allow all judicial avenues to stop the imprisonment to be exhausted. Had Bush waited any longer, then Libby would have had to serve the prison time that Bush thought was unfair.

Assume that Bush meant what he said: that he thought that Libby's jury verdict was fair; that Libby's prison term was unfair; that Bush had enough info to reach these conclusions; and that Libby was imminently going to prison. What Bush action would have been most consistent with his past policies? Has he ever let someone go to prison after making a determination that prison was unjust?
7.9.2007 3:18pm
scote (mail):

Had Bush waited any longer, then Libby would have had to serve the prison time that Bush thought was unfair.


You are ignoring an inconsistency. Bush pointedly remarked that Walton sentenced Libby to more than the pre-sentence report recommended as his justification for saying 30 months was excessive. But the pre-sentence report recommended 15-21 months. Bush commuted Libby's sentence before he served a single day, not before he served a day longer than the sentencing report suggested should.

Second, Bush has always claimed that he was going to let the legal process work its course. He lied. He only meant for it to work its course as long as the outcome was the one he desired. Failing that, he overrode the legal process.


Assume that Bush meant what he said:

Bush gave up the right to have us presume the veracity of anything he says. The correct thing to assume is that anything he says may be a lie.


Has he ever let someone go to prison after making a determination that prison was unjust?

Probably. There is a lot of injustice in this world. Bush refused to pardon a man cleared by DNA. And I wouldn't trust Bush's sense of compassion, either. He presided as Governor or Texas over the most executions ever in the United States--pretty odd for a "pro-life" Christian, but that is a larger issue of hypocrisy for right wing Christians in general, not just Bush.
7.9.2007 4:04pm
Justin (mail):
Orin,

I'm trying to be nice, but do you really believe this is a serious (which I accept is a lower standard than meritorious) response?

My Criticism:

Bush policy #2: Recommendation from the Department of Justice. The only plausible way to read this is in conjunction with 28 CFR 1.1 et seq. and 28 CFR 0.35-36, as explained by the DOJ Manual: " The Pardon Attorney, under the direction of the Deputy Attorney General, receives and reviews all petitions for executive clemency (which includes pardon after completion of sentence, commutation of sentence, remission of fine and reprieve), initiates and directs the necessary investigations, and prepares a report and recommendation for submission to the President in every case." This did not occur.


Mr. Schlafly's response:

"2. If Libby had submitted a petition for commutation, then the Pardon Attorney would have reviewed it. "

Sidenote: From the DOJ Clemeny Regulations:

ยง 1.1 Submission of petition; form to be used; contents of petition.

A person seeking executive clemency by pardon, reprieve, commutation of sentence, or remission of fine shall execute a formal petition.

So now Mr. Schlafly's argument is either based on the idea that George W. Bush is going around commuting the sentences of people who don't want their sentences commuted, or that a person's failure to follow the requirements of 1.1 are vested with an array of additional rights. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to have a general policy of at least requiring applicants for clemacy to at least go through the required procedures?
7.9.2007 5:11pm
Justin (mail):
This post might be of interest to Scote and anyone else in terms of what executive Bush has and has not seen as unfair.
7.9.2007 5:17pm
ATRGeek:
Roger, of course, is assuming away the problem. The assumption that any prison time at all for Libby would be unfair is contradicted by Bush's stated commutation standards, and the assumption that Bush had enough information to make a clemency decision is contradicted by Bush's stated procedures for commutation petitions.

So, I would turn Roger's question around. Before now, has Bush ever commuted a person's entire prison sentence, and before now, has he ever done so without a prior investigation and recommendation by the Pardon Attorney?
7.10.2007 5:10am
zvelf:
Competent people will be less inclined to serve in office if they have to go through the stress and expense of an investigation and trial, and then have to go to prison.


Well, since Bush is in office, we've already hit rock bottom, so we don't have to worry about that. Sorry, I couldn't resist.


Before now, has Bush ever commuted a person's entire prison sentence, and before now, has he ever done so without a prior investigation and recommendation by the Pardon Attorney?


Why no, but we can't seriously be wondering whether Bush's commutation was exceptional and exceptionally self-serving, can we? Everyone involved in prosecuting and judging the case were appointed by Republicans, most of them by Bush himself; Bush's entire political history has been characterized by the stance of harsher sentencing; he's the stingiest contemporary President when it comes to pardons/commutations; he initially took a hard stance of this leak, which he claimed was a serious matter. I guess lying during investigations of this serious matter is not so serious, especially if its in the service of saving Cheney's, and by extension, Bush's neck.
7.13.2007 11:06pm