Presidential Pardons: Unchecked Power

For the past three decades, American Presidents have been cautious about issuing pardons. In eight years, Bill Clinton gave out roughly 300. Herbert Hoover handed out almost 1,400 in half the time. Ever since Gerald Ford let Richard Nixon off the hook for Watergate, every act of clemency has been scrutinized. Still, each recent President has made a few controversial decisions. Nixon pardoned Jimmy Hoffa in 1971, then received the Teamsters' endorsement a year later. Jimmy Carter pardoned Vietnam draft dodgers on his first full day in office. Ronald Reagan pardoned two FBI officials who had authorized agents to break in...

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