The Nation: The New Legal Tangles

President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon may betray questionable judgment. There is no question of its constitutionality. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that the President "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment."

In an 1867 case that has obvious bearing on Ford's action, the Supreme Court ruled that the pardoning power is "unlimited" (except for impeachment) and "may be exercised at any time"—even before an indictment is issued.

Presidents in the past have made frequent use of the pardoning...

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