President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has sparked much spirited debate among scholars and political pundits. Arpiao was found guilty of criminal contempt of court by continuing to detain immigrants he suspected were in the country illegally. On August 25, 2017, President Trump issued his pardon, a decision that Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government Andrew Rudalevige has been analyzing in the national media.
Writing in The Washington Post’s political science blog the Monkey Cage, Rudalevige said Trump’s action is unlike most other presidential pardons in that it “is substantively out of step with the … foundational American concept of ‘a government of laws and not of men.'”
Rudalevige was also a guest on NPR’s Weekend Edition, where he discussed the history of the presidential pardon. Trump’s pardon, he said, is probably not what the founding fathers had in mind when they framed the constitution: “I don’t think that the action is going to live up to what Alexander Hamilton hoped, which is that you would, in fact, restore tranquility to the republic.”