Could Donald Trump reverse Chelsea Manning's commutation?

  • As Barack Obama delivered the commutation to Chelsea Manning's 35 year sentence down to 7, would President-elect Donald Trump have the ability to reverse that when he becomes President?

  • abelenky

    abelenky Correct answer

    5 years ago


    The power of a Presidential Pardon comes from the Constitution (Article II, Section 2) and there is no provision for undoing it.

    Does it matter that it's a commutation with a future date instead of an immediate pardon?

    @Bobson: Heck no.

    @Bobson No, a commutation is a reduction in sentence. Obama has effectively reduced Manning's sentence by many years. There is no Constitutional power afforded the president to *lengthen* a sentence, that would invite retribution on political enemies

    There's a chance he can try to get Manning re-charged with something else, but I'm unsure how Double Jeopardy would play with that (I asked on Law.SE)

    @JRaymond - Logically, if you can pardon an offense in its entirety, then you can partially commute the sentence for it. But the constitutional language is "Reprieves and Pardons". If commuting part of the sentence doesn't count as either a reprieve (which it may?) or a pardon (which I doubt, since that's closer to "it never happened"), then it's **not** a specifically enumerated power.

    It's worth noting that commutation of a sentence and a pardon are slightly different when it comes to what rights Manning will have when she is released. There are certain civil rights which are regained when pardoned that are not when your sentence is commuted.

    In theory you're right, in practice they can just jail chelsea manning again for any reason they like. The US government has long been in the habit of jailing american citizens indefinitely without trial if it suits them particularly.

    @Bobson sentence commutation falls under the "reprieves" language and was first exercised by George Washington. Most of the people who wrote it were still kicking back then and would have been rather annoyed if that wasn't what they had intended (well they were anyway, but for different reasons)

    @Magisch There are exactly two cases in the history of the U.S. of Americans citizens jailed indefinitely without trial and procedurally it isn't entirely clear if they are generally applicable valid precedents. Neither of those cases would even if they were precedents have any applicability to Manning.

    @ohwilleke 2 that you KNOW about. We already know the US operates black site secret prisons and has a secret court system in place. Theorethically, they could have jailed tens of thousands and you wouldn't ever get to know.

    @user4012 - See my answer to see how Double Jeopardy applies here.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM