Scooter Libby’s Sentence Commuted

Bush has just commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence, eliminating his prison sentence, while leaving his $250,000 fine intact. That is what I recommended here. (I was expressing my own views, not speaking on behalf of CEI, which has not taken any position on the case). Orin Kerr took the contrary position, provoking numerous comments from lawyers debating the issue. Supporters of having Libby serve his entire sentence argue it is hypocritical for Libby’s conservative defenders to criticize his perjury conviction while supporting impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. (I discussed the Paula Jones lawsuit against Bill Clinton, and how Bill Clinton’s own policies ironically paved the way for that lawsuit against him, here and here).

By contrast, critics of Libby’s sentence have argued that it was much longer than that given to Clinton Administration officials who engaged in more egregious wrongdoing, like Sandy Berger, who avoided jail despite his perjury and destruction of irreplaceable classified documents.