THE UNCONNECTED. With respect to the disgraceful Libby commutation, Laura of 11D provides some interesting data about how likely a petitioner not connected with the Bush administration is to get a pardon or commutation by historical standards. On an individual level, a recent Supreme Court case provides another example. In Rita v. U.S., the Supreme Court recently held that sentences that fall within the (now merely advisory) federal sentencing guidelines can be presumed to be reasonable on appeal without violating the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. The man whose appeal failed, Victor Rita, is a man (unlike, say, Scooter Libby) with a genuinely distinguished record of public service: "lengthy military service, including over 25 years of service, both on active duty and in the Reserve [with] 35 medals, awards, and nominations." The sentence that was upheld? 33 months for perjury, making false statements, and obstructing justice. Anyone think he's getting a commutation or pardon from Bush? I think it's safe to say you have to be part of a conspiracy to burn a CIA agent in order to further a grossly dishonest case for a disastrous war to merit that kind of attention...

--Scott Lemieux

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