Should the Pardon Power Be Amended?

Rep. Jerrold Nadler is proposing to amend the Constitution to restrict the President's pardon power. Rep. Nadler is apparently concerned that President Bush will pardon members of his own administration involved in the development of counterterrorism and detainment policies who may have broken the law. Brian Kalt observes:

the most interesting thing about Nadler's proposal is how diametrically opposed it is to the Framers' conception of the pardon power. This is not a criticism of Nadler's proposal as such—by definition, constitutional amendments are inconsistent with the constitutional provisions that they are trying to change. But it is striking, and illuminating.

Kalt's whole post is worth reading. Among other things, it reminds us that the question of whether a President should be able to pardon members of his own administration is not new. After debating the question, the Framers concluded that this was not too great a power to give the President, despite the potential for abuse. Recent Presidents have certainly use the pardon power in inappropriate ways, but I don't think this justifies amending the Constitution.