President Sets Precedent With Preemptive Pardons
Washington, DC, October 31, 2008 -- Outgoing President George W. Bush followed yesterday in the footsteps of his predecessors by applying his traditional presidential power to absolve a number of friends and supporters of their criminal convictions. Included in the last-minute mercy package, however, was a novel twist: preemptive pardons.
"Just as preemptive war can be invoked as a by-product of slow-moving international deliberations, the preemptive pardon is a precedent born of the sluggish pace of the American judicial process," said Harriet Miers, Counsel to the President. "With so many indictments still pending, and more potentially in the works, the president felt it would be best to grant the pardons while he still had time. According to our interpretation of the rules, the individuals in question do not need to have been convicted prior to being pardoned. The pardon can be applied retroactively should pending or future legal proceedings result in a ruling against the defendant."
Bush announced the precedent-setting preemptive pardons, which will protect in perpetuity a large swath of his administration's friends and supporters, personally during a rare press appearance in the White House Rose Garden.
"It's my honor, my duty, and my right as the... your president of the… as your president to preemptively pardon the following stand-up people, individuals of current or in the future legal stuff they might get convicted of," said the president. "My confidence in them is strong. I know they're trying to do their best for the country, and I'm gonna do my best for them, now and later."
Included on the president's extensive preemptive pardon list were a number of high-profile administration members and Bush family supporters, including Bush advisor and policy architect Karl Rove, Bush supporter and former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Vice President Dick Cheney, conservative media personality Robert Novak, World Bank President and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, former Florida State Secretary Katherine Harris, and Attorney James Baker.
Bush declined to reveal details concerning specific ongoing or pending legal proceedings behind each preemptive pardon, merely saying "You'll know when the shit flies."
The preemptive pardons will effectively render judicial action against any of the named individuals from resulting in any form of punishment more severe than censure, even in the event that they are indicted, tried and convicted. Any potential prison sentences or fines are effectively blocked.
Bush appeared slightly uneasy when delivering the announcement, stumbling as he climbed the White House steps at its conclusion, and dropping the file containing the pardon envelopes. A sharp-eyed CNN reporter standing nearby noticed one marked, simply, "W." Bush, when questioned as to the contents of that envelope, replied with a wink, "Like the Boy Scouts say, you can't be too careful."
Karl Rove, when reached by telephone for comment at his palatial Miami Beach residence, bellowed "Score!" and hung up.
By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
- Justice Roberts Admits to "Taking a Dive" During Oath of Office
- Hillary Vows to Press On in Face of North Carolina, Indiana Primary Setbacks
- Nostalgic Bush Says FY09 Budget "Last Chance to Shaft the Poor"
- In Lucky Coincidence, Errant Spy Satellite Strikes Osama
- Candidate McCain Vows Not To Repeat Mistakes of 2000, 2008, 2012 Campaigns
- Jesus Endorses Obama; Four Horsemen Opt for McCain
- Citing Faltering Economy, Lawmakers to Forego Cocktails
- Ron Paul Sweeps Republican Primary Elections in California, New York
- In Surprise About-Face, Bill Clinton Backs Obama