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Publication date September 2, 2024
By Kim Wehle

PARDON POWER: HOW THE PARDON SYSTEM WORKS — AND WHY

PRE-ORDERMEDIA KIT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PARDON POWER: HOW THE PARDON SYSTEM WORKS — AND WHY

New Book from Kim Wehle, Law Professor and Legal Contributor for ABC News, Takes Readers from the Pardon’s Worthy Beginnings to its Misuse in Modern Times Foreword by John W. Dean, Counsel to the President of the United States (1970-73), Nixon White House

May 28, 2024 -- Woodhall Press announced today that it will publish Pardon Power: How the Pardon System Works and Why, on Sept. 2, 2024, the latest book by kimberly Wehle, acclaimed author, law professor, legal analyst, and Legal Contributor for ABC News. She also appears regularly on CNN, C-SPAN and NPR News.

Pardon Power will be released just weeks before the 2024 election. Against this timely backdrop, Wehle takes readers on a fascinating historical journey from British monarchs’ early uses of the pardon — when it was moored in righteous intent — to its misuse in modern times to subvert the American rule of law.

FACTS & HISTORY ABOUT THE PARDON

WHAT IS A PARDON? A pardon is the absolution of a person for a crime. For federal crimes, the pardon power rests solely with the president. For state crimes, the pardon power varies — not all governors can wipe away a criminal record with the stroke of a pen.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PARDONS? Pardons exist in two forms: legitimate pardons that serve their intended purposes of mercy or remedying injustice; and illegitimate pardons that serve as favors for wealthy donors, supporters, and family members that disserve the rule of law.

WHY DOES THE PARDON EVEN EXIST? In theory, pardons exist to enable mercy for individuals who are unjustly treated or amnesty to heal a nation. The framers of the Constitution borrowed the concept from England’s monarchy, and exists in every country across the world except China.

WHO CAN BE PARDONED? Presidents can issue pardons for any federal crime with few limits and without explanations. The power is far more constrained in some states than for presidential pardons.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER NOW? WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE 2024 ELECTION? Donald J. Trump is the first president to realistically present the country with the possibility of a self-pardon. He dangled a self-pardon while in office, and if he were to pull one out to challenge the indictments against him for his role in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his mishandling of classified documents after he left office, it would throw the country into another constitutional crisis. Trump has also repeatedly and publicly promised blanket pardons for those charged with or convicted of crimes committed during the January 6th insurrection (more than 1,265 people).

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT
THE NEWEST BOOK FROM KIM WEHLE

"In Pardon Power, Kim Wehle debunks the orthodoxy that the President’s pardon power has no limits and argues persuasively that its use for corruption has no place in our system of laws. A must-read for those who care about the fate of American democracy."

Charlie Sykes, MSNBC contributor & columnist and author of How The Right Lost Its Mind

"Taking the reader on a fascinating historical journey from the ancient holy scriptures to January 6, Wehle highlights how an ecclesiastical instrument intended to correct for unfortunate guilt,' ... can (and has) become weaponized by occupiers of the Oval Office intent on subverting the rule of law. Wehle's analysis is a must-read for anyone who cares about creating transparency & accountability in one of the most awesome powers of the presidency."

Asha Rangappa, Former FBI Agent, Former Associate Dean at Yale Law School, Senior Lecturer at Yale University

Like all discretionary authority, the pardon power is only as virtuous as the person who controls it. Kimberly Wehle demonstrates that it can be a righteous tool to remedy wrongful convictions, reduce excessive sentences, and recognize extraordinary rehabilitation, but it also can be used to obstruct investigations, benefit political allies, and reward people for paying the President’s friends.

Professor Wehle’s timely book illuminates a vast constitutional power likely to be debated during the 2024 presidential campaign and beyond.

Rod RosensteinDeputy Attorney General, Trump Administration