Dems call on judge to reject Trump's pardon of Arpaio

Dems call on judge to reject Trump's pardon of Arpaio
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More than 30 House Democrats are asking a federal judge to overturn President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE's pardon of former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio

In an amicus brief filed in Arizona federal court on Wednesday, the Democrats argue that Trump's pardon of Arpaio on a contempt of court charge compromised the independence of the judicial branch and its ability to enforce court orders.

Arpaio, 85, was convicted of criminal contempt in July for ignoring a judge's order to stop detaining people based only on suspicion about their immigration status.

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Trump pardoned the controversial sheriff in August as Arpaio awaited sentencing for the conviction.

In their amicus brief, the Democratic House members contended that Trump knowingly upended the authority of the court by pardoning someone who had intentionally disobeyed court orders. 

"The pardon here is an intentional usurpation of the Court’s authority by the President," the lawmakers wrote in the brief. "President Trump does not pretend that his pardon of the Defendant is based upon the considerations of grace that usually justify the exercise of the pardon power

"The pardon here is not based upon 'circumstances which may properly mitigate guilt,' but is intended to defeat the Court’s authority to punish disobedience to the Court’s orders — 'an independent means of self-protection' — and perhaps is even intended to endorse the Defendant’s contention that he was a 'sovereign sheriff' beyond the power of federal courts."

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, who found Arpaio guilty in July, is expected to hold a hearing on the pardon on Oct. 4.