In 1830, George Wilson was sentenced to death for robbing and murdering a U.S. mail carrier. Andrew Jackson extended a presidential pardon to try and rescue George Wilson from his sentence. Rather than accepting, however, Wilson decided to reject the pardon. Shocking the nation, the case went to the United States Supreme Court to try and determine if Wilson was legally able to reject a pardon from the President. The Supreme Court ruled that Wilson was able to reject the pardon.
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, was recently convicted of eight federal charges. These charges include tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and making false financial statements. After news of the conviction came out, President Trump tweeted that he would consider extending a presidential pardon to Cohen. In a surprising turn of events, Cohen’s lawyer has stated that Cohen would not consider accepting a pardon, bringing back memories of United States v. George Wilson.
While some believe the Supreme Court is correct in saying that individuals should have the ability to turn down presidential pardons, others think that is an option that should not be available. What do you think? Should a citizen be able to refuse a pardon from the president of the United States?