Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) lays out her agenda here.
60 percent of Americans think Bush should have left the pardon in place. I hope the Democrats are prepared to ignore the braindead crew at the WaPost editorial board and hang this around the necks of the Republican presidential contenders and congressional leaders. Hay should be made.
The Next Hurrah has a statement from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s spokesperson:
We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.
We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as “excessive.” The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
Although the President’s decision eliminates Mr. Libby’s sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process.
I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children.
While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the president’s decision.
This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.
In April, Think Progress noted that Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” aired at least eight segments about a fake news story claiming a school in Maine had formed “an anti-ham ‘response plan’” after a Muslim student complained of being harassed with a ham steak. After the Fox report, the school’s superintendent received threatening calls and hate mail. He’s now suing Fox News:
Lewiston School Superintendent Leon Levesque is seeking $75,000 in federal court in Portland to deter what his attorney Bernard J. Kubetz characterized as irresponsible reporting by Fox News Channel. [...]
“It appears to me that Fox News acted in a grossly irresponsible way and took some information that was really not very plausible, did not do any substantial fact-checking, and put it out as hard news,” Kubetz said. [...]
Fox did a brief on-air retraction, but Levesque called it unsatisfactory. A Fox News spokesman in New York said the company does not comment on pending lawsuits.
The Sci Fi Channel is partnering with the Alliance to Save Energy and Edison Electric Institute on the Eureka $mart House Energy Efficiency Challenge, an energy-efficiency campaign. It even includes a $25,000 home energy-efficiency makeover.
If the Sci Fi channel can do for energy efficiency what it did for Battlestar Galactica, there is hope for all of us.
Bush commutes Scooter Libby’s sentence. I didn’t think he would do it, but it’s really the only honorable course of action available to him. It would be silly for Bush to pretend to believe that people deserve to be punished for breaking the law to help cover up his administration’s crimes when he clearly believes no such thing. Now it’s out there in the open.
This is, however, an opportunity to raise a point from Sandy Levinson’s book — is the pardon power really a good idea? It seems to be an open invitation to abuse.
President Bush has spared Scooter Libby from a 2½-year prison term, issuing an order that commutes his sentence, the AP reports. Libby will never have to go to jail, but his felony conviction will stand, and he will still serve two years probation and owe $250,000 in fines.
The Politico reported on June 17:
White House loyalists have begun arguing that clemency for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby — either a pardon or a commuted sentence — would be a way for an embattled President Bush to reassert himself, particularly among conservatives.
The White House has not ruled out a pardon for Libby, sources say. But several Republicans, who sense a movement in Libby’s favor, said a more likely possibility might be a presidential commutation — a reduction or elimination of Libby’s 2½-year federal prison sentence. Such a move, they said, would be less divisive for the country.
UPDATE: On June 5, White House spokesperson Dana Perino said that the President was “not going to intervene.”
UPDATE II: From Bush’s statement today:
I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.
The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.
UPDATE III: In March, Americans opposed pardoning Libby by a 3 to 1 margin.
UPDATE IV: Weekly Standard’s William Kristol predicted it all along. From Fox News Sunday, June 10, 2007:
KRISTOL: I think [the president] will not let Scooter Libby go to jail. He may not pardon him. He may commute the sentence, the prison sentence — in other words, say no prison sentence, but let Libby pay the $250,000 fine that Judge Walton imposed and therefore not overturn the actual verdict.
That way, he can say, “Look, a jury found that he made false statements. I’m not going to challenge that. But this man does not deserve to go to jail. The official recommendation was for a much shorter sentence. Judge Walton for some reason went for the maximum sentence. That’s not right. And therefore, I’m going to remove the prison sentence, commute the prison sentence but maybe let the fine go ahead.”
UPDATE V: Bloomberg notes, “Bush has granted fewer pardons — 113 — than any president in the past 100 years, while denying more than 1,000 requests, said Margaret Colgate Love, the Justice Department’s pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997. In addition, Bush has denied more than 4,000 commutation requests, and hundreds of requests for pardons and commutations are still pending, Love said.”
UPDATE VI: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “The President’s decision to commute Mr. Libby’s sentence is disgraceful. Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War. Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone.”
UPDATE VII: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “The President’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people.” More statements from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Judiciary chairman John Conyers (D-MI), and Rules chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY).
UPDATE VIII: Statement from Vice President Cheney: “I have always considered him [Libby] to be a man of the highest intellect, judgment and personal integrity — a man fully committed to protecting the vital security interests of the United States and its citizens. … The defense has indicated it plans to appeal the conviction in the case. Speaking as friends, we hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man.”
UPDATE IX: Politico’s Crypt notes that House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) “was one of the few – and perhaps only – Republicans to applaud President Bush’s decision” to commute Libby’s sentence. Reaction by former senator Fred Thompson HERE.
UPDATE X: The New York Times editorial board writes, “Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.”
UPDATE XI: Bob Geiger has compiled the reaction of the Democratic presidential candidates HERE.
E&ENews (subs. req’d) reports the car companies are backing a wimpy 32-mpg-by-2022 plan to thwart the House from adopting the Senate’s 35-mpg-by-2020.
This story just shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the auto industry. I mean, seriously, an extra 3 mpg, 2 years earlier? Is it really worth all of the lobbying effort? And even if they got it passed, the House would no doubt split the difference with the Senate in conference, so we are only talking 1.5 mpg, 1 year earlier
Planet Earth to Detroit: Just build the damn 35-mpg cars and SUVs 13 years from now! Heck, by then gas will be $5 a gallon, the planet will be superheating, and everyone will want one of those cars anyway.
Here is the entire story:
A report in Inside Army finds that some generals are worried “the new emphasis on…counterinsurgency may be undermining conventional [big war] capabilities“:
Gen. Richard Cody, the Army vice chief of staff, was the first to sound the alarm publicly late last year. He warned that soldiers need more than 12 months between deployments so that they can complete a full range of combat training.
“We need to reset the sergeants and send them to schools, the lieutenants and captains and send them off, so that we don’t erode and become an Army that only can fight a counterinsurgency,” Cody told reporters. He added that North Korea’s Oct. 3 nuclear test “reminds us all that we may not just be in a counterinsurgency fight and we have to have full-spectrum capability.”
Danger Room’s Noah Shachtman responds, “Excuse me, General. But when the Army has spent the last five years or so fighting a pair of insurgencies — and not exactly burnt out the scoreboard with its performance — isn’t it time to make counterinsurgency a core competency?”