The U.S. Constitution establishes the power of the presidential pardon to forgive individuals for federal criminal acts. From the days of George Washington presidents have granted pardons and reprieves to individuals and groups of people to forgive them for offenses against the United States. In fact, the founding fathers were aware of the English kings’ absolute power to grant pardons and decided to grant this power to the president. So, why would a president want to give a pardon?
Well, a president may grant a pardon for many reasons, including to obtain justice for an individual, for public-policy purposes such as to ensure peace in the case of an uprising or after a conflict (such as war), and even to help out a friend.
In this article, we’ll explore who the president can grant pardons to, the different types of pardons and reprieves, the process of asking for a presidential pardon, and some high-profile (and controversial) presidential pardons.
Next, we’ll take a look at who the president can pardon.