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Schick v. Reed

The President Can Commute With Conditions

In his majority opinion, Chief Justice Burger held that the president has the power to attach conditions when he commutes the sentence of a convicted person. He based this determination on previous cases that had been before the Court, and on his understanding of the history of an executive's power to pardon:

[T]his Court has long read the Constitution as authorizing the President to deal with individual cases by granting conditional pardons. The very essence of the pardoning power is to treat each case individually . . . Presidents throughout our history as a Nation have exercised the power to pardon or commute sentences upon conditions that are not specifically authorized by statute . . . We therefore hold that the pardoning power is an enumerated power of the Constitution and that its limitations, if any, must be found in the Constitution itself.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Schick v. Reed - Significance, The Lower Court Rulings, The President Can Commute With Conditions, Furman V. Georgia Did Not Apply