The History Of Presidential Pardons And Commutations

Feb 27, 2020

Article 2, section 2, clause 1 of the United States Constitution grants presidents the right to pardon those convicted of federal crimes. Since George Washington, presidents have been granting pardons and commutations. Even though the checks and balances written into the constitution for all three branches of government shape power dynamics, this article grants unilateral power to the president.

Historian Tim Walch and political scientist Rachel Paine Caufield join River to River host Ben Kieffer to talk about some of the most memorable pardons and commutations throughout history.


Tim Walch, director emeritus Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Rachel Paine Caufield, professor of political science at Drake University