Response to Arguments Against Closing New York’s Pardon Loophole

Free Speech For People has issued a memorandum responding to arguments that have been raised against closing New York’s presidential pardon loophole.

As explained in the New York Daily News by Ron Fein and Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, current New York state law could allow certain defendants pardoned by the president for their federal crimes to also escape prosecution for their state crimes. A bill before the New York legislature would close that loophole for a narrow category of pardons that raise the prospect of presidential self-dealing.

Free Speech For People and a coalition of national public interest organizations have issued a letter to the New York legislature in support of passing the bill to close this loophole before the president begins to issue pardons. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union has issued a legislative memorandum opposing the bill on various policy and purported legal grounds.

Today’s memorandum addresses and responds to each of the arguments raised by the New York Civil Liberties Union. As we explain in detail, the fact that the bill applies to all presidents (not just Trump) is a point in its favor, not against it; the legislature should not reject the bill because a future legislature might hypothetically pass unrelated bills in the future; the bill is not an unconstitutional bill of attainder; and the bill should not be delayed pending a Supreme Court decision on a case that may not even affect the issues involved in this legislation.

Read the memorandum.

Read the New York Daily News op-ed.

Read the organizational letter to the New York legislature.

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