It was widely reported earlier today by the mainstream media that in a major departure from his predecessors, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has no plans to grant any pardons in the near future. Past governors from both parties have granted some pardons during their first year in office, but according to walker spokesman Cullen Werwie, Gov. Walker “believes these decisions are best left up to the courts.”
However, while Gov. Walker may believe decisions on who to grant pardons to are “best left up to the courts,” the authority to grant a pardon in Wisconsin lies exclusively with the governor. As the illusory tenant astutely points out, courts can expunge a person’s criminal record, but that’s hardly the same thing as a pardon granted by the governor.
The fact that Gov. Scott Walker doesn’t seem to understand that the responsibility to grant pardons is his and his alone is frightening, and it shows just how little Gov. Walker cares (or knows) about the actual “nuts and bolts” of governing.