Robert Mueller

Pardon power is not absolute

Pardon power is not absolute

You don’t need to be a specialist in constitutional law to feel deeply troubled by President Donald Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff convicted of violating a federal court order directing his office to stop detaining immigrants and Latinos not suspected in crimes.

Mr. Trump’s first use of what’s known as Article II pardon power is chilling in its timing, coming as it does on the heels of his tacit encouragement of white supremacist violence and reports that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is closing in on the White House.

Also troubling are repeated media assertions that the president’s pardon power is affirmatively...