It is debatable whether Donald Trump could pardon himself, something he is said to be considering, and would likely fall to the Supreme Court to decide, but at least one Democrat in the House doesn’t want to wait and find out. Rep. Al Green (TX-09) plans to introduce a bill to make it illegal once and for all:
Green said he believes that giving the president the power to self-pardon would make the leader “above the law,” making the United States, he believes, “a country of laws for all but the president.”
“To allow such would not only place the President above the law, it would make the President his own final judge, jury, and prosecutor,” Green said in a statement. “The President would in fact become the law.”
Green said he plans to introduce the bill because of “love for my country,” adding that the phrase “no one is above the law” is “the heart of American Jurisprudence,” according to his statement.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Constitutional law experts make the case that the president cannot pardon himself:
Can a president pardon himself? Four days before Richard Nixon resigned, his own Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel opined no, citing “the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case.” We agree.
The Justice Department was right that guidance could be found in the enduring principles that no one can be both the judge and the defendant in the same matter, and that no one is above the law.
The Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment and removal. It adds that any official removed through impeachment remains fully subject to criminal prosecution. That provision would make no sense if the president could pardon himself.
The fact we are having to discuss this at all, only six months into Trump’s term is……insane. This is not sustainable for another 3.5 years.