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Barack Obama


Pre-presidency

President of the United States

Policies

Appointments

First term

By the end of his second and final term on January 20, 2017, United States President Barack Obama had exercised his constitutional power to grant the executive clemency—that is, "pardon, commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution, and reprieve"[1]—to 1,927 individuals convicted of federal crimes. Of the acts of clemency, 1715 were commutations (including 504 life sentences) and 212 were pardons.[2][3] Most individuals granted executive clemency by Obama had been convicted on drug charges,[4] and had received lengthy and sometimes mandatory sentences at the height of the war on drugs.[5]

Obama holds the record for the largest single-day use of the clemency power, granting 330 commutations on January 19, 2017, his last full day in office.[6][7] He also issued more commutations than the past 13 presidents combined.[2][8]

Constitutional provision

The pardon powers of the President are outlined in Article Two of the United States Constitution (Section 2, Clause 1), which provides:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Definitions

A pardon is an executive order granting clemency for a conviction, it may be granted "at any point after the ... commission" of the crime.[9] As per Justice Department regulations, convicted persons may only apply five or more years after their sentence has been completed.[10] However, the President's power to pardon is not restricted by any temporal constraints except that the crime must have been committed. Its practical effect is the restoration of civil rights and statutory disabilities (i.e., firearm rights, occupational licensing) associated with a past criminal conviction.[10] In rarer cases, such as the pardon of Richard Nixon, a pardon can also halt criminal proceedings and prevent an indictment.

A commutation is the mitigation of the sentence of someone currently serving a sentence for a crime pursuant to a conviction, without vacating the conviction itself.[10]

Pardons and commutations

This is a partial list of people pardoned or granted clemency by a United States president, ordered by date of pardon or commutati

By the end of his second and final term on January 20, 2017, United States President Barack Obama had exercised his constitutional power to grant the executive clemency—that is, "pardon, commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution, and reprieve"[1]—to 1,927 individuals convicted of federal crimes. Of the acts of clemency, 1715 were commutations (including 504 life sentences) and 212 were pardons.[2][3] Most individuals granted executive clemency by Obama had been convicted on drug charges,[4] and had received lengthy and sometimes mandatory sentences at the height of the war on drugs.[5]

Obama holds the record for the largest single-day use of the clemency power, granting 330 commutations on January 19, 2017, his last full day in office.[6][7] He also issued more commutations than the past 13 presidents combined.[2][8]