President Obama pardoned two overweight turkeys yesterday, continuing the country’s annual Thanksgiving tradition. That makes the numbers of pardoned turkeys almost equal to the number of people he has pardoned for drug crimes.
The Huffington Post published a story today comparing Obama’s turkey clemency with his human pardons and found that the turkeys have little catching up to do to win Obama’s equal forgiveness. The president has pardoned 10 turkeys during his terms, while he has pardoned a total of 11 people for drug crimes, out of 39 total pardons he has issued.
Obama has issued the lowest number of pardons of any president in recent history, including Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush, according to a ProPublica analysis based on records from the Department of Justice. He granted clemency to 17 people at once in March — after denying 314 others the day before.
The American Civil Liberties Union is currently petitioning the public to press Obama to reform the criminal justice system, in which a disturbingly high number of people — 3,278 — are serving life sentences for nonviolent crimes. The ACLU estimates that 65 percent of these prisoners are black.
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A 2011, a ProPublica study of data from 2001 to 2008 found that whites were four times as likely to be pardoned as minorities.
The Huffington Post reported on a speech made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in August in front of the American Bar Association, in which he called the justice system “broken” and appealed for “sweeping, systemic changes.”
Holder, 62, grew up in a largely African-American neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., where he watched neighborhood friends fall into the wrong crowd and end up incarcerated. He has since made it his mission to reform the system that keeps them there.
Meanwhile, Carmel and Popcorn, the fat fowls that Obama pardoned, will live a life that’s just gravy, on a farm without fear of the slaughterhouse.