Constitutional Law

Irked Judge Upholds Libby Commutation

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In what a well-known U.S. Supreme Court blog describes as “a 10-page opinion bristling with actual and implied criticism” of President George W. Bush’s commutation of the 30-month prison term imposed on I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the federal judge who sentenced the former top vice presidential aide held today that he has no power to overrule the president.

Consequently, Libby must report tomorrow to begin two years of probation for obstructing a grand jury investigation into how Valerie Plame’s espionage role was revealed by U.S. government officials, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton wrote in the opinion he filed today in Washington, D.C.

“Moreover, in a sternly worded footnote, Judge Walton warned Libby that if he failed to comply with any condition of his supervised release—something the judge said he did not think would occur—Libby would have to go to prison for that two-year span,” notes the SCOTUSblog post about the opinion.

An post earlier this week discussed what lawyers said in briefs about the president’s commutation of Libby’s sentence.

Associated Press (Bush Dismisses CIA Leak as Old News).

Los Angeles Times (Libby judge “perplexed” by clemency).

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