Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 1, 2017

National Horror Show: Arpaio pardon

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

From the New Yorker (which yes, has a reference to Bill Clinton’s questionable pardon as well):

Rank cronyism and political expediency are again on display in President Donald Trump’s recent pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County. Arpaio was one of Trump’s earliest and most outspoken political supporters, and a stalwart proponent of the false “birther” claim, which Trump rode to political prominence. Trump announced the likely pardon of Arpaio at the most inappropriate possible venue—a raucous Arizona political rally paid for by his 2020 reëlection campaign. And the pardon was granted hours before a Category 4 hurricane was projected to hit the coast of Texas and cause “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding. But the Arpaio pardon accelerates Trump’s assault on the rule of law and legal norms far beyond anything that could be said of Clinton’s pardon of Rich.

Fully appreciating what Trump has wrought, constitutionally speaking, requires recognizing that the U.S. executive branch is an enormous and complex machine. It dwarfs the other two branches, with over two million civilian employees. And since Watergate and the release, in 1976, of the Church Committee report, which detailed wider executive-branch abuses, this vast federal bureaucracy has increasingly accreted an intricate array of wheels and pulleys designed to insure that the President and his people not only enforce legal authorities but also abide by them. The Arpaio pardon is a perfect conflagration of all of the ways that Trump has systematically undermined these authorities over the course of his first seven months in office. It is nothing less than a multipronged attack on the executive branch’s own commitment to the rule of law.

For the Joe Arpaio backstory, see this Rolling Stone piece from 2012.



  1. What’s that got to do with Alameda?

    Comment by jack — September 1, 2017 @ 7:27 am

    • Not a bad question. Remember: Federal-State-Local. Immigration-related items were on our Local agenda back in January. With Chump (a Federal) now endorsing (or pardoning) a former Local official convicted of violating an injunction against targeting Mexican-looking drivers for pull-overs, expect it to continue as a matter of Local debate all over the place.

      Comment by MP — September 1, 2017 @ 7:51 am

  2. I saw this story about Arpio in Politico last week. It brings to mind other ambitious types from the past who see opportunity in jumping on the bandwagon, no matter how ugly.

    “Immigration scaremongering wasn’t always an Arizona political tradition. Arpaio was sheriff in 2005, when a border vigilante named Patrick Haab rounded up a truckload of undocumented immigrants at gunpoint. Arpaio at the time was better known as an animal rights crusader than an immigration hawk, and denounced Haab’s freelancing. “Being illegal is not a serious crime,” he said. “You can’t go to jail for being an illegal alien.” Meanwhile, County Attorney Andy Thomas sensed a political opportunity, and rallied around Haab, to great success. “Sheriff Joe saw how Thomas got the better press,” one of Arpaio’s lawyers, Jack Wilenchick told me. “Up until then, it wasn’t his thing.”

    As Arpaio transformed the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department into an immigration enforcement vehicle, the state legislature underwent a similar metamorphosis. ….”

    “Prior to his first campaign for governor in 1958, George Wallace (D) served as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and later as judge in the Third Judicial Circuit Court. During this time Wallace was known as a moderate on racial issues, and was associated with the progressive, liberal faction of Alabama politics.[3] During the 1958 gubernatorial campaign Wallace spoke out against the Ku Klux Klan, and although he endorsed segregation his centrist views won him the support of the NAACP.[4] In contrast, his opponent John Patterson accepted the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan and made racial issues a major part of his campaign.[4]

    Previous Alabama governors had run successfully on moderate platforms similar to the one Wallace adopted in 1958. However, the growing Civil Rights Movement, especially the Montgomery Bus Boycott three years earlier, had left white Alabamans feeling “under siege”,[2] and Patterson won the race for governor by a large margin. After this defeat, Wallace determined that in order to be elected governor he would have to change his position on racial issues, and told one of his campaign officials “I was out-n—–ed by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be out-n—–ed again.”[2]

    Comment by MP — September 1, 2017 @ 9:10 am

  3. Compare to the pardons and commutations of President Obama. The most controversial was the commutation of 30 years off the sentence of the convicted traitor, Chelsea Manning. The Obama administration also prosecuted more leak cases than any administration in history. Overall, Obama granted clemency to 1,927 individuals, a figure that includes 1,715 commutations and 212 pardons. That’s the highest total for any president since Harry S. Truman. Here is a list:

    Comment by Nowyouknow — September 1, 2017 @ 9:31 am

    • Whataboutism, Milo. Get back to Infowars.

      Comment by BC — September 1, 2017 @ 1:49 pm

  4. The time that Arpaio’s goons forced a dog back into a building that they burned to die and laughed about it:


    “And in the ultimate display of cruelty, a SWAT team member drove a dog trying to flee the home back into the inferno, where it met an agonizing death.

    Deputies then reportedly laughed as the dog’s owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze.

    “I was crying hysterically,” Andrea Barker, one of the dog’s owners, tells me. “I was so upset. They [deputies] were laughing at me.”

    Always hilarious when self-styled “rugged-individiualist, small government conservatives” types have their noses shoved way up the assholes of corrupt cops.

    Comment by brock — September 1, 2017 @ 10:35 am

    • Those are rugged individualist profas.

      Comment by jack — September 1, 2017 @ 6:23 pm

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