Origins of the Presidency and Official Duties

Duties and Powers

What is the president’s power to pardon?

Article II, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution states that “the president shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” The pardon power is exclusive to the executive branch, with no requirement for consent from any other branch of government. Of all of the president’s responsibilities, the pardon power is perhaps the most delicate and political, in that it is meant to be an instrument that rights the wrongs of those who have violated federal laws, and is purely subjective on the part of the president. Presidents may exercise this power on behalf of a particular person or a group of people.


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