The presidential pardon power is an oft-overlooked political institution that seems to be perceived as being innocuous and irrelevant to larger political concerns. This research examines the pardons issued by President Donald J. Trump in an effort to evaluate whether they align with constitutional expectations regarding the use of this unrestricted presidential power. Dr. Jeffrey Crouch, a leading scholar on the subject, has demonstrated that the pardon power was intended to be used as a disinterested act of grace or an act in the public interest. A close survey of President Trump’s use of this power shows that many of his pardons do not meet these standards. Instead, President Trump often used pardons to protect political allies or favor personal friends. In doing so, Mr. Trump derogated from the Constitution and elevated allies and friends above the rule of law. The implications of this usage for American democracy are spelled out.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Politics, Security, and International Affairs
International Relations; Comparative Politics
Saemundsson, Hlynur, "The Pardon Paradigm: The Presidential Pardons of Donald J. Trump" (2022). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1200.