President Bush did the right thing in commuting I. Lewis Libby's jail sentence. Libby's appeals can now continue without him having to serve any prison time, and the remaining fine and probation can be addressed by a successful appeal, should justice ultimately prevail. A further pardon can be enacted if the appeal fails.
The President commuted the sentence of Mr. Rosa from a total effective sentence of seventy-five (75) years' imprisonment, to a total effective sentence of imprisonment of four (4) years, seven (7) months, and fifteen (15) days.
Offense: Seditious conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. § 2384; interference with interstate commerce by threats or violence, 18 U.S.C. § 1951; possession of an unregistered firearm, 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d); carrying firearms during the commission of seditious conspiracy and interference with interstate commerce by violence, 18 U.S.C. § 924(b); interstate transportation of firearms with intent to commit seditious conspiracy and interference with interstate commerce by violence, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, 18 U.S.C. § 2312
Even taking the worst possible view of Libby, his "crime" pales in comparison. Yet,. As York points out:
It seems that after Clinton's FALN clemency, the House passed a bill "Expressing the Sense of the Congress that the President Should Not Have Granted Clemency to Terrorists." A number of now-outraged Democrats voted against the bill, including House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, now speaker, didn't vote. But she later explained that she was against criticizing the president's decision:
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, on the last vote, H. Con. Res. 180, I was detained in traffic while returning to the Capitol. Had I been present, I would have voted "no."
Note that among the Democrat presidential aspitrants, Hillary is the one who has said she would not criticize a presidential pardon for Libby. She's no dummy. Hat tip: Clarice Feldman
Update: For probably the first time in my life I have given Hillary too much credit:
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, took a pass Tuesday morning when asked if she would object to a pardon for former Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
She was asked about Libby while addressing the AFSCME Democratic presidential candidate forum in Washington. Clinton first smiled and said, “Oh, I think there will be enough to be said about that without me adding to it.”
But moderator Chris Matthews pressed the issue, asking again if Clinton would have a problem if Libby was pardoned. Someone in the audience yelled, “Ask a real question.” Clinton then added, “A question that’s really about the people in the audience, and not about what’s happening in Washington.”
Libby was convicted of perjury for lying to investigators probing the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.
His attorneys are filing an appeal of the conviction on Tuesday, and he is expected to challenge a judge’s ruling he must go to prison while awaiting the decision.