Gregory Koger

Gregory Koger teaches and conducts research on American politics at the University of Miami. He specializes in the study of Congress, political parties, interest groups, elections, political history, and political institutions.

Recent Articles

Pardon Me

Instead of forgiving cronies and crooks, the president should use his executive authority to pass the DREAM Act.

One of the little joys of teaching a presidency class in the fall is that my session on presidential pardons falls around Thanksgiving so I can lead off with video of the leader of the free world pardoning a turkey . However, one of the interesting things about the pardoning power is that, with the exception of impeachment charges, “the President’s authority to grant pardons [for federal offenses] is essentially unfettered” as this CRS report explains. Presidents can pardon individuals or classes of people, with or without conditions. While the possibilities are vast, modern presidents use the power to pardon sparingly . Other than a few political cronies, moonshiners , and fowl friends, presidents have been reluctant to appear “soft on crime” and slow to use the pardon power. And since 1980, almost all pardons have been for specific individuals after the president and his staff have weighed the merits of each person’s case. But it is also possible for presidents to pardon entire...