FAS

Can the President Pardon Himself?

08.29.17 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Congressional Research Service has prepared a summary overview of the presidential pardon power, addressing various legal questions such as: “whether the President can issue ‘prospective’ pardons; whether the President can pardon himself; and the extent to which Congress can regulate or respond to the exercise of the President’s pardon authority.”

So can the President pardon himself?

“The Framers did not debate this question at the Convention, and it unclear whether they considered whether the pardon power could be applied in this manner. No President has attempted to pardon himself. . . Accordingly, this is an unsettled constitutional question, unlikely to be resolved unless a President acts to pardon himself for a criminal offense.”

See Presidential Pardons: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)CRS Legal Sidebar, August 28, 2017.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following:

Allowances and Office Staff for Former Presidents, FY2016-FY2018 AppropriationsCRS Insight, August 28, 2017

Transport Agencies Withdraw Proposed Sleep Apnea RulesCRS Insight, August 24, 2017

Kurds in Iraq Propose Controversial Referendum on IndependenceCRS Insight, August 25, 2017

China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States, updated August 26, 2017

China-U.S. Trade Issues, updated August 26, 2017

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