Top Judiciary Dem: Arpaio 'should not have been pardoned'

Top Judiciary Dem: Arpaio 'should not have been pardoned'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Senate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left MORE (D-Calif.) on Saturday ripped President Trump's decision to pardon controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio, saying the pardon represents a "disregard for the rule of law."

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio should not have been pardoned. He brazenly denied a federal judge's court order to stop racial profiling and continued to do so until being convicted of criminal contempt," Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

"A pardon for that conduct demonstrates flagrant disregard for the rule of law in this country."

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Feinstein joined other top Democrats and civil rights organizations blasting Trump's decision to pardon the former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff, who was accused of racially profiling Latinos and was convicted of criminal contempt last month for not obeying an order to stop.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Arpaio "the definition of racism and bigotry" in a tweet on Friday while bashing the timing of Trump's pardon, saying he tried to "use the cover of Hurricane Harvey to avoid scrutiny." The then-Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Texas on Friday night.

The White House justified Arpaio's pardon in a statement Friday, stressing his years of public service.

“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the White House said.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon," it added.