I have been restless especially this last week. When this nightmare began I was 33. I am now 40 and cannot believe I am still fighting to overcome this ordeal; and that I am nowhere close to where I was in life before this; life with felonies can be an exercise in frustration.
As I watched the inauguration processions early morning, as I saw President Obama leave the Oval office for the last time, I felt defeated. I could not help the voice inside me that kept asking: ‘Mr. President, where are the pardons? Where is my pardon?’
Theodore Roosevelt (President from 1902 – 1909) pardoned 668 people. Dwight Eisenhower (President 1953 – 1961) pardoned 1,110. John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford both were President for the less than three years; yet despite this short tenure Kennedy pardoned 472, and Ford 382. Jimmy Carter pardoned 534 over a four-year presidency. Pardon numbers by other two-term presidents: Lyndon Johnson – 960; Richard Nixon – 863; Ronald Reagan – 393; Bill Clinton – 396; George W. Bush – 189; Barack Obama – 212.
After pardoning only 70 individuals during his first seven 7 years of office, President Obama publicly committed in press conferences that he would catch up to his predecessors. This gave me hope and like many others, I believed I had a chance. The President did issue more pardons, 142 in his last year. But not nearly as many as we all hoped. And at least one short of what we wanted. One recent NY Times article captures the surprisingly low number of pardons and the potential drivers.