President Trump’s Pardon of Joe Arpaio
Joe Wisenbaker writing for the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee
On July 31, a United States District Judge found former Arizona county sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court for having willfully disregarded an injunction against his department’s extensive practice of stopping and seizing people of Hispanic appearance on the suspicion of them being in the country illegally. That practice had been found to be an unconstitutional infringement on due process rights of individuals and had been repeatedly enjoined.
On August 25, President Trump announced a full pardon for the former sheriff citing his years of “selfless public service.” By doing this, President Trump has effectively undermined the rule of law by giving public officials the reasonable belief that they would never be held accountable for violating individual rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
While the Constitution says that the President “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States,” his oath on inauguration whose wording is also required by the Constitution says that the President will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
By his pardon of the sheriff, President Trump has rewarded someone for violating the Constitutional rights of our citizens and has thereby violated his oath of office. Being unable or unwilling to adhere to his oath, President Trump should resign from office. Failing that, he should be declared unable to fulfill his duties (following the 25th Amendment) or be impeached and removed by the Congress.