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Obama should pardon some people, too

So far President Obama has pardoned four turkeys and no people, though nearly 500 petitions for pardons were received during his first 20½ months in office, bringing the total of pending requests to 1,140. Presidential pardons since 1945 have ranged from Harry Truman's 1,913 to George H.W. Bush's 74. In a Washington Post commentary directed at Obama, former U.S. pardon attorney Margaret Colgate Love urged the president to get on with it: "Pardoning people should not be that hard. In fact, it should be one of the happiest of your official duties. It requires no permission or negotiation with the other branches of government. It allows you to put your personal stamp on the justice system and to speak directly to the American people about it. Judicious pardoning has been an important legacy of some of our greatest presidents. . . . The federal prison population of roughly 200,000 includes many who have served decades for nonviolent drug offenses and others who deserve a second look to determine whether midcourse correction would be appropriate. Thousands of ordinary people living productive and law-abiding lives in this country are disqualified from opportunities and benefits because of a conviction record that may be decades old. These are people who have earned the second chance that a pardon represents."