Obama's Pardon Drought Continues


President Obama has now gone 387 days into his presidency without issuing a single pardon or commutation. He trails only George Washington, John Adams, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush for longest pardon drought to start a presidency.

The ACLU is mounting a campaign to make Hamedah Hasan Obama's first executive clemency. Hasan was given a 27-year mandatory minimum sentence for playing a relatively minor role in her cousin's crack cocaine operation. The long sentence was due to the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity. It was Hasan's first offense, and the acts that led to her conspiracy conviction were all nonviolent. The judge who sentenced Hasan is also asking for her release. So far, she's served 16 years of her sentence. Only an act of executive clemency can prevent her from serving out the remaining 11 years.

More about Hasan's case here.

Meanwhile, pardon power scholar P.S. Ruckman points to a CBS News story about Obama's pardon drought, and says an administration aide's explanation for the lack of clemency action—that first-year presidents get overwhelmed with pardon petitions—simply isn't true.