Response to Chad Flanders, Pardons and the Theory of the “Second Best”
In his article, Pardons and the Theory of the “Second Best,” Professor Flanders asserts that pardons are “second best” in two ways. First, they tend to be granted when the criminal justice system has failed in some way. Second, pardons “en masse” can reflect racial bias, favoritism, and arbitrariness, all of which undermine the integrity of our criminal justice system. The heart of his article theorizes how pardons should be granted in order to avoid such undermining outcomes. Specifically, Flanders contends that pardons cannot be examined exclusively at the individual level; rather, executives should consider the patterns that emerge when looking at pardons as a whole. Read more.