Sujit Choudhry’s take on the President pardoning himself

The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump has said he can pardon himself. However, the president argues that he has done nothing wrong and as such, self-pardon is out of play here. This question has left tongues wagging especially in the scholarly world with regard to the correctness of president Trump’s conclusion, as there is a slim precedent as to the matter, read (

Article II section 2 of US constitution gives the president the power to pardon and grant reprieves for any offenses committed against the United States except in cases where impeachment is involved. However, the statement does not indicate if the president can pardon himself, neither does it show he cannot.

The president’s pardon power can be traced back to 1886 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ex parte Garland, know more details on This happened when President Andrew Johnson granted a former Confederate politician a presidential pardon. This precedent was used during the Watergate controversy when Richard Nixon was the president. When President Nixon resigned, and Gerald Ford took over, he was granted pre-emptive pardon for the crimes he might have committed even though he was not yet charged with any crimes.

This issue cropped up again during President Bill Clinton’s administration following the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Richard Posner, a federal judge, and conservative legal scholar argued that the Founding Fathers left the issue of self-pardoning open. He argued that the issue had been concluded from the language of the constitution that the President has the power to pardon himself, visit

Of late, President Trump is fascinated by the presidential pardon power, and this is seen as sending a message to those targeted in the Robert Mueller investigation that he can pardon them.

About Sujit Choudhry

Professor Sujit Choudhry teaches law at the University of California. Sujit Choudhry is widely recognized due to his expertise on constitutional law and politics. Professor Sujit Choudhry has given major speeches in many different countries. Sujit Choudhry earned his law degrees from Oxford, Toronto, and Harvard Universities. Sujit Choudhry has published many articles, reports, and working papers.