More than two dozen House Democrats are calling on a California federal appeals court to invalidate President Donald Trump's pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who has announced his presidential candidacy, and 22 other Democrats are are telling the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit the Trump pardon "is an encroachment by the executive on the independence of the judiciary," Roll Call reported.
Trump's pardon for Arpaio in 2017 allowed the former sheriff of Maricopa County to escape punishment for a conviction of criminal contempt of court for disobeying a federal judge. The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is also now reviewing a lower court's decision not to vacate the conviction, Roll Call reported.
According to Roll Call, the lawmakers are telling the appeals panel Trump's pardon of a contempt of court charge infringed on the power of the judicial branch to impose sanctions for disobedience — just like a pardon of a contempt of Congress charge would infringe on the power of the legislative branch.
Trump's pardon was done not to "ameliorate an unduly harsh criminal punishment or to correct a mistake in the enforcement of the criminal law," the lawmakers argue, but instead to subject the authority of the federal courts "to the approval of the executive," Roll Call reported.
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