Earlier today, an appeals court declined to overrule the trial court’s order that Scooter Libby report to jail pending his appeal. That forced President Bush’s hand, and White House officials indicate that President Bush has commuted Libby’s jail sentence, while leaving his conviction, a $250,000 fine and two years of probation intact.
This strikes me as an excellent resolution. To my knowledge, it was first advocated by Paul’s friend Bill Otis, a former federal prosecutor, in an op-ed in the Washington Post. The idea quickly gained support.
I also think the President’s commutation of Libby’s sentence will go over well with the party’s conservative base and will contribute, to some degree, to a restoration of Bush’s standing with conservatives.
UPDATE: President Bush’s statement on the commutation is here. An excerpt:
Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.
Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.
I respect the jury