U.S. presidents have wielded the power to issue pardons since it was granted to them in 1789 by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution.
[Source: Obama breaks single day record with 78 pardons, by Ted Goodman]
President Obama pardoned 78 people and shortened the sentences of 153 others convicted of federal crimes on Monday, December 19, the most ever granted by a president in a single day.
Rather than pardon felons, Mr. Obama has focused his clemency. For example, he most often commutes the life sentences of drug dealers. At least the awarding of clemency does not restore a criminals right to vote. Pardons amount to forgiveness of a crime and thus remove restrictions on the right to vote.
These actions bring the total number of commutations by Mr. Obama to 1,176 people, including 395 who were serving life sentences, and he has pardoned a total of 148 people during his presidency. The President has granted clemency to 1,324. In 2016 alone, the President has granted clemency to more than 1,000 individuals.
Importantly, I do not object to a President exercising his or her duly ordained powers under the constitution. This power was unambiguously given to presidents by the Founding Fathers.
Indeed, the number of pardons issued by a president has varied considerably. President George Washington issued 16 pardons. Franklin D. Roosevelt granted a jaw dropping 3,687 pardons. (Recall, however, that Roosevelt served three terms.) Two presidents did not grant any pardons during their administrations, William H. Harrison and James Garfield. (Both men died soon after they became president.)
As my readers know, I am not a fan of Barack Obama and I am always suspect of his motivations. I am trying very hard at this moment to remember that Jesus forgave those who were crucifying him.