Bush Sets Libby Free:
Wow, that was fast: President Bush set Scooter Libby free today, just hours after the D.C. Circuit's ruling.

  Bush "commuted" Libby's sentence, which means that Libby doesn't have to go to jail but he still has to be on probation for two years and still must pay the fine imposed by the District Court. In case you're wondering, yup, this is perfectly legal. The President's powers here are absolute. And whether Scooter Libby's original sentence was exactly correct is an interesting question I can't answer; while I have a rough sense it was in the right ballpark, I didn't follow the case closely enough to have any particular views of that.

  Nonetheless, I find Bush's action very troubling because of the obvious special treatment Libby received. President Bush has set a remarkable record in the last 6+ years for essentially never exercising his powers to commute sentences or pardon those in jail. His handful of pardons have been almost all symbolic gestures involving cases decades old, sometimes for people who are long dead. Come to think of it, I don't know if Bush has ever actually used his powers to get one single person out of jail even one day early. If there are such cases, they are certainly few and far between. So Libby's treatment was very special indeed.

  UPDATE: I have amended the post to take out my effort to try to characterize commuting the sentence; some readers objected, and the point wasn't relevant to the post.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Scooter Libby Commutation:
  2. Bush Sets Libby Free: