Perhaps more importantly, Mr. Obama is making changes in the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which has come under criticism in recent years as being excessively strict in its reviews of applications for pardons and clemency. Indeed, according to a ProPublica analysis of Justice Department data, Mr. Obama has to date exercised his clemency powers less than any of his four immediate predecessors, three of whom were Republicans. He only granted one clemency request in his entire first term. The president is replacing the head of that office, Ronald Rogers, a holdover from the George W. Bush administration, with Deborah Leff, who has been in charge of the Justice Department's "Access to Justice" initiative, which helps improve access to legal assistance for indigent defendants. One imagines she might be more sympathetic to the cause. Moreover, Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that the department would assign "potentially dozens of lawyers — with backgrounds in both prosecution and defense — to review applications and provide the rigorous scrutiny that all clemency applications require."