Impeachment and the Limits of the Pardon Power

Corey Brettschneider and I published a piece in the Washington Post this morning arguing that a president cannot pardon himself for high crimes that are the subject of his own impeachment, nor can he pardon others directly connected to those crimes. This is a controversial view within the legal establishment but it has never been addressed by courts. We defend our view at length in an earlier piece this past summer in The Atlantic.

The point of today’s piece is to urge Congress to adopt our interpretation, and to formally express this constitutional interpretation in service of fortifying its impeachment power and its institutional power more generally. We point out that in this kind of case the Supreme Court is likely to defer to Congress’s own interpretation of the meaning of the impeachment exception of the pardon power.

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