President Bush is nearing the end of his term, and felons are coming out of the woodwork in historic numbers to ask for pardons and reduced sentences, the New York Times reports. It is not unusual for there to be a spike in pardons granted by a president in his final months in office: Half of Bill Clinton’s 459 pardons happened in his last three months.
By comparison, Bush has been a teetotaler, granting clemency just 44 times in the past 7 years. That could change, as experts agree that the expected 2,100 petitions for clemency this year (including Marion Jones and John Walker Lindh) will be the largest group ever. Add to that the possible pre-emptive pardoning of officials involved in counter-terrorism programs, and it could be an interesting season.