Notes from around the Human Experience…
MORE PRESIDENT TRUMP…WHAT A SURPRISE: Wow, President Donald Trump stirring the pot again! A shocker, we know. Today we are going to chat about his recent pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Like most everything else President Trump does, this was done seemingly off the top of his head, as Arpaio had not filed a request for a pardon, a process which generally takes several, and sometimes many, years.
Arpaio, 85, was convicted of violating a federal court order to halt his treasured immigration roundups, where Latinos in Maricopa County were unfairly detained and arrested. He was held in contempt on three counts in May, 2016 and this past July was convicted of criminal contempt of court. He was scheduled to be sentenced on October 5, and he still might be as the judge in the case indicated she would prefer to hear oral arguments on the matter before tossing the conviction out.
An interesting conundrum, a legal challenge to a president’s pardoning power because Presidents can pardon whomever they want – except, we believe, themselves – for any federal crime. The United States Constitution is very clear on this matter, Article II, Section 2 stating, in part:
…he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
The challenges are stemming from the premise that a pardon cannot be issued if it would result in someone else’s Constitutional rights being violated and that Arpaio’s pardon prevents the federal judiciary’s effort to enforce the Constitution.
Thank You, Oliver Wendell Holmes: Maybe, maybe not. People duller than us will hash this out, though it seems to us the judge’s order remains in effect. All that’s changed is Arpaio is no longer guilty of violating it.
The Bottom Line: The only restrictions on a president’s ability to pardon are that the pardon be for federal offenses and not be in a case of impeachment. That’s it. President Trump was well within his rights in pardoning Arpaio.
Don’t Even Start: This doesn’t mean we agree with the pardon. If we were President Arpaio would not have been considered for a pardon. He was not entitled to one, in our opinion.
Dry, Technical Matter: Controversial pardons are nothing new in this country, though a complete detailing of every single one is, thankfully, beyond the scope of this column. Some notable ones include the first President Bush pardoning Armand Hammer after Hammer donated $110,000 to the Republican National Committee, Bill Clinton pardoning his brother and Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon even before Nixon was charged with anything.
ON THIS DATE! TWELVE DAYS LATER! Almost two centuries after it was first adopted by some other countries, Great Britain adopts the Gregorian calendar on this date in 1752. In Britain and its possessions, including the colonies that would become the United States, September 2, 1752 was followed by September 14, 1752.
We’re In From Some Dry, Technical Matter, Aren’t We?: The Gregorian calendar had been decreed in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII and was immediately adopted by the Papal States. The Gregorian calendar modified the Julian calendar, which had been around since 45 BC and which replaced a Roman calendar.
The main problem with the Julian calendar was it added a leap day every four years no matter what and as a result the seasons were out of whack, which made celebrating Easter difficult. The Gregorian calendar changed, among other things, the number of leap years. Years that were divisible by 100 were no longer leap years unless they were also divisible by 400, then they were leap years.
Someone Please Insert A Boy Scout Phrase Here. We Don’t Know Any: Arthur Eldred becomes the first Eagle Scout on this date in 1912. Eldred, from Brooklyn, would later serve in the Navy in World War I and would spend his working life in the agriculture, produce transportation and railroad industries. He remained active in scouting until his death in 1951 and was the father and grandfather of Eagle Scouts.
Missed It By That Much: Milt Pappas of the Chicago Cubs becomes the only pitcher to lose a perfect game on a walk to the 27th batter on this date in 1972. Pitching at Wrigley Field against the Padres, Pappas walked pinch-hitter Larry Stahl on a 3-2 pitch. The pitch was close enough that Pappas thought it should have been called a strike, and he would always remain bitter over the call by plate umpire Bruce Froemming. Pappas would retire the next batter for a no-hitter.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Olde Style Beer: Pappas died last year and had an interesting career. His 20 home runs are 12th on the all-time list for home runs by a pitcher and he was the first pitcher to win 200 major league games without winning 20 games in a season.
Up, Up And Away To Red Square: West German Mathias Rust goes on trial in the Soviet Union on this date in 1987 following his arrest the previous May after he had landed his private plane in Moscow’s Red Square. Rust was convicted on assorted charges and sentenced to four years in a labor camp, though he ended up serving his sentence in a temporary detention facility in Moscow. He would be released as a goodwill gesture the following August.
Quotebook: Marriage, the last refuge of men unable to fend for themselves. – Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The first justice to hold the supreme court seat occupied by Thurgood Marshall was Joseph P Bailey in 1870. Bailey had been nominated by President Ulysses S Grant when the Judiciary Act of 1869 expanded the Supreme Court from eight seats to nine.
Today’s Stumper: How many Eagle Scouts have the Boy Scouts produced over the years? – Answer next time!