The Arpaio pardon and impeachment 

Here are three good pieces on Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, each reflecting the bottom line that Trump abused the power, and even if the pardon can legally/procedurally go into effect, It should also be grounds for impeachment: Frank Bowman in Slate, Josh Chafetz in the Washington Post, and Noah Feldman in Bloomberg.  I’m adding Krugman’s piece here, too:

“Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style… There’s also a word for people who, out of cowardice or self-interest, go along with such abuses: collaborators. How many such collaborators will there be? I’m afraid we’ll soon find out.”

[For what it’s worth, I’m not yet persuaded by Martin Redish’s take in the NY Times that the 14th Amendment’s due process clause restricts this particular pardon. I think the obstruction of justice statutes might apply instead, but probably only to a worse set of facts (such as Arpaio or his henchmen returning to commit the same crimes, and receiving a second pardon, or Trump’s pardoning collaborators in order to obstruct the Russia investigation). To the extent that Arpaio’s actions plus the pardon continue to impact civil rights, let me add that there can still be new injunctive relief against Arpaio, there can be federal and state prosecutions of Arpaio and his henchmen for all kinds of crimes. Federal pardons do not impact state prosecutions. Moreover, victims can bring torts suits in state and federal court (civil rights violations based on Section 1983 and constitutional torts violating 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments).

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. JD/PhD in History, Yale. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I filed an amicus brief in the Emoluments litigation against Trump along with a great team of historians. I'm working on "The Rise of the Prosecutor Politicians," a history of prosecutors and American politics, and another project on the origins of independent agencies in America.

2 thoughts on “The Arpaio pardon and impeachment ”

    1. I don’t agree with Redish’s due process argument, at least not at this stage. And I think Bowman’s point about impeachment is very different from Redish’s stretch of the due process clause.

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