The Kerr that barked

Orin Kerr is the prominent professor at George Washington University Law School. He is a former Supreme Court law clerk who blogs at the Volokh Conspiracy. Yesterday Professor Kerr commented here and here, sort of, on my support for a pardon of Lewis Libby. Coincidentally, Fouad Ajami addresses an appeal for a pardon of Libby to President Bush in today’s Wall Street Journal.
In the first post Professor Kerr implies that I think “perjury and obstruction of justice are not so bad after all,” based on nothing I have said. Indeed, I think they’re serious offenses, but that the laws are poorly applied to this absurd investigation in which, among other things, the “culprit” (Richard Armitage) was known from the outset. In the second post, Professor Kerr implies that there is something funny about quoting Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist No. 74 on the presidential pardon power and facetiously demands freedom for Paris Hilton based on my citation of Hamilton.
Coming from a teacher of Professor Kerr’s professional standing, the posts strike me as remarkable for their vacuity, though perhaps the lame humor goes with the territory. Unlike the dog in the famous Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze,” Professor Kerr barked. But I don’t think he bit.
PAUL adds: I favor commuting Libby’s sentence, as opposed to a pardon. But a pardon would be defensible, and believing this is not inconsistent with believing that perjury and obstruction are quite serious offenses. Most felonies fit that description, but that fact doesn’t end the inquiry on whether a pardon should be granted. Pointing to conservative outrage over Bill Clinton’s perjury, as Professor Kerr does, also seems like a weak argument. I don’t think many conservatives argued that Clinton should go to jail; they just said he shouldn’t serve as president.


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