Papal connivance with the commutation of Oscar Lopez-Rivera’s sentence was not spontaneous. Francis’ mercy-mongering on his behalf lasted more than a year.
The president’s action carries the same unavoidable whiff of playing identity politics with a key voting bloc of the Democratic Party.
A pardon lets the accused avoid punishment, but sears her guilt into the public consciousness. After all, an innocent woman does not need to be pardoned.
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