Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) plans to introduce a Constitutional amendment in the coming months to impose limits on the president’s near absolute pardon power, he told an NYU-Harper’s forum on justice in the post-Bush era Thursday night.
Nadler, who two weeks ago introduced a resolution demanding President Bush not issue ‘pre-emptive’ pardons of officials in his administration, said his amendment would bar presidents from pardoning members of their own administration for official acts. The president would retain the power to pardon the secretary of state for, say, beating his wife, Nadler said, but not for actions taken in an official capacity.
Nadler added he is considering adding a section limiting the pardon power in the final months of a presidential administration.
“This is something the Congressman thinks is very important, and it’s a priority for him,” Nadler spokesman Ilan Kayatsky told TPMmuckraker today. Kayatsky said Nadler’s office is still doing planning and research on how to structure the amendment.
The president’s pardon power is drawn from Article II, Section II of the Constitution, which states in part:
[The president] shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
Nadler’s amendment would have to be passed by a two-thirds vote of both the Senate and the House and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states.