Letter: A presidential self-pardon is unconstitutional

To the Editor:

This is an argument against the constitutionality of a presidential self-pardon in cases of impeachment.

Article 2 Section 4 of the U.S Constitution states that Congress can impeach the president and remove him/her from office for bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article 2 Section 2 allows the president the right to grant pardons except in case of impeachment. This wording clearly prevents the president from pardoning himself for impeachment. However, there is a loophole. What if the president pardons himself before the impeachment is issued?  While it was not a self-pardon, President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon prior to was likely to be an impeachment. An impeachment in that case would have become null and void. Such a tactic might be used by any president to keep from ever being impeached.

But, a presidential self-pardon would be in direct conflict with the Congress’ right to impeach the president. The U.S. Supreme Court would have to decide between the president and Congress. The congressional right to impeach is spelled out clearly in the Constitution, whereas the presidential right to a self-pardon is nowhere in the Constitution.

Taking all of this into account, I believe that the Court would declare a presidential self-pardon unconstitutional.

Lewis Siegel

Prospect Street, July 7