A Pardon for DeLay? (Revisited)

A few days ago, I commented on Texas lawyer Tom Campbell’s appeal to President Obama and Texas Governor Rick Perry to grant convicted felon Tom DeLay a pardon.

While I would not be opposed to a pardon for DeLay on humanitarian grounds—mainly for his family’s sake—Campbell, in my opinion, laundry-listed all the wrong reasons for such a pardon.

Over at the Huffington Post, Jason Linkins also comments on the pardon plea with a somewhat similar take but he takes special offense to Campbell’s effort to tie a DeLay pardon to the Tucson massacre, in particular to the tragic shooting of 9-year old Christina Taylor Green.

When linking a DeLay pardon to Tucson and the killing of Christina, Campbell writes:

Perhaps the tragedy of Tucson can be a landmark in the progress of our political process. The courage, hopes and ideals captured so eloquently in President Obama’s eulogy can set a tone for American politics for this decade or be forgotten as our actions belie our pleasant rhetoric.

We are at a crossroads where a grand gesture – an extraordinary olive branch extended over the partisan divide – could cement the gains we appear to have made and take us one step closer to becoming the United States idealized by 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green.

To that end, Mr. President, please join with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in pardoning Tom DeLay.

To which Linkins says:

Do you really want “to live up to [Christina Green's] expectations,” Mr. Obama? Do you really “want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it?” Then give Tom DeLay his life back!

Like I said, there’s a good chance that this op-ed is a “parody” of “actual human reasoning.

Campbell addressed his plea to both the President and to the Texas Governor.

However, the Texas governor may or may not have a say in this matter.

Last month, the Austin-American Statesman reported that members of the State Republican Executive Committee would be considering a resolution calling on Gov. Rick Perry to immediately pardon.

It is not clear what became of this resolution.

Various sources claim that the Texas governor may not, or should not, grant DeLay a pardon.

For example, The Lone Star Project reports:

This idea is not just impossible, it is wholly irresponsible and a reflection of Texas Republican tolerance for overt corruption.

First, R.G. Ratcliffe of the Houston Chronicle pointed out that Perry does not have the power to pardon DeLay. He can only make a recommendation to the Pardon Board and he can’t do that until the appeals process has run its course.

More importantly, the Republican Party and Perry should remember that a jury of his peers convicted DeLay of a felony. While the GOP and politicians like Perry claim to be for “law and order,” clearly that doesn’t extend to their own leaders like Tom DeLay and former Dick Cheney Chief of Staff and convicted felon Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Even if it were possible to pardon DeLay, it would be absolutely inappropriate to do so.

Stay tuned.

Correction:

In the Huffington Post quote from Campbell’s op-ed, the city name should have been Tucson, rather than Houston. This has been corrected.

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Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist