blanket pardon


Senior Member

I just need our confirmation as to my understanding of the following expression in bold:

"High-level charges, if they come, would be a first in U.S. history. "Traditionally we've caught some poor bastard down low and not gone up the chain," says Burtno Neuborne, a constitutional expert and Supreme Court lawyer at NYU. Prosecutions may well be forestalled if Bush issues a blanket pardon in his final days, as Neuborne and many other experts now expect. (Some see Cheney's recent defiant-sounding admission of his own role in approving waterboarding as an attempt to force Bush's hand.)" (source)

Does it mean Bush is expected to exclude some people from shouldering responsibility for what they have done? In other words, does it mean they will avoid being brought to justice?

Is "blanket pardon" a figurative expression to describe pardoning somebody?

Thank you!
  • El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    "Blanket" here is used in the sense of "widespread" - and in "blanket pardon", it means Bush would pardon everyone involved.

    EDIT: although see Cagey's clarification on this possibility below...
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    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    It is worth remembering the forum rule that asks us to search the Word Reference dictionary and forum before posting. There are a number of previous threads that discuss this use of "blanket" and the dictionary has the following:

    1 across-the-board, all-embracing, all-encompassing, all-inclusive, blanket(a), broad, encompassing, panoptic, wide

    broad in scope or content; "across-the-board pay increases"; "an all-embracing definition"; "blanket sanctions against human-rights violators"; "an invention with broad applications"; "a panoptic study of Soviet nationality"- T.G.Winner; "granted him wide


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It is not in the president's power to pardon an indefinite group of people, but to pardon specific people for whatever they may have done, including for past crimes that they may be charged with in the future. Thus, a blanket pardon of Cheney, for instance, would prevent his being brought to trial for actions some people regard as criminal.
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    Senior Member
    Still more background would clarify things. A blanket pardon may apply either to a number of individuals, or to a variety of charges against a single individual. The context presented suggests the former, but I'm not absolutely sure this is the case.