Obama's Only Presidential Pardon This Year Went To The TurkeyBy Nicole Flatow
Nov. 28, 2012
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As is annual tradition, President Obama used his constitutionally granted pardon power the day before Thanksgiving to save one lucky turkey. But thus far, the turkey is the only recipient of a presidential pardon in 2012. Although the Constitution confers on the president the power to "grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States," a recent ProPublica report found that he had exercised that power more rarely than any president in modern history.
Obama's spare use of his power to grant clemency through both pardons, which revoke an existing conviction, and commutations, which grant an early end to criminal sentences, has been documented in an extensive series by investigative outlet ProPublica. Starting after President George W. Bush's decision early in his first term to rely on the recommendations of career pardon lawyers, the report found that whites were four times more likely than minorities to receive a presidential pardon.